US Ecology, Inc. (ECOL) Short Interest Down 32.6% in October

US Ecology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECOL) was the target of a significant decrease in short interest during the month of October. As of October 31st, there was short interest totalling 616,888 shares, a decrease of 32.6% from the October 13th total of 915,584 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 75,858 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 8.1 days. Currently, 2.9% of the shares of the company are sold short.

Shares of US Ecology (ECOL) opened at $44.85 on Friday. US Ecology has a 52-week low of $43.10 and a 52-week high of $55.75. The firm has a market capitalization of $979.93, a PE ratio of 33.47, a PEG ratio of 5.57 and a beta of 0.70. The company has a current ratio of 2.00, a quick ratio of 2.00 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94.

US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The business services provider reported $0.37 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.60 by ($0.23). US Ecology had a net margin of 5.39% and a return on equity of 10.35%. The company had revenue of $135.05 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $135.29 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.47 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 8.2% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that US Ecology will post 1.61 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 27th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 20th were given a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.61%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, October 19th. US Ecology’s dividend payout ratio is presently 60.00%.

In other US Ecology news, Director Katina Dorton acquired 600 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 25th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $47.16 per share, with a total value of $28,296.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 3,970 shares in the company, valued at $187,225.20. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Eric L. Gerratt sold 19,936 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.80, for a total transaction of $933,004.80. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 31,447 shares in the company, valued at $1,471,719.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.30% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ECOL. OppenheimerFunds Inc. increased its position in shares of US Ecology by 19.1% in the first quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 7,704 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $361,000 after purchasing an additional 1,234 shares during the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of US Ecology by 4.3% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 36,621 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $1,716,000 after purchasing an additional 1,521 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc increased its position in shares of US Ecology by 1.0% in the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 38,861 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $1,819,000 after purchasing an additional 372 shares during the last quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans increased its position in shares of US Ecology by 5.0% in the first quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 12,290 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $576,000 after purchasing an additional 590 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of US Ecology by 5.6% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,143,790 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $53,586,000 after purchasing an additional 60,791 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.12% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts have commented on the stock. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $57.00 price objective (down from $60.00) on shares of US Ecology in a report on Monday, October 30th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $60.00 price objective on shares of US Ecology in a report on Sunday, July 30th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of US Ecology from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 22nd. BMO Capital Markets decreased their price target on US Ecology from $54.00 to $47.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut US Ecology from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. US Ecology presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $51.25.

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About US Ecology

US Ecology, Inc is a provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities. The Company offers treatment, disposal and recycling of hazardous, non-hazardous and radioactive waste, as well as a range of field and industrial services. The Company operates in two business segments: Environmental Services, and Field & Industrial Services.

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