M&T Bank Corp trimmed its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL – Get Rating) by 28.4% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 86,460 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 34,212 shares during the period. M&T Bank Corp’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $15,264,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $337,443,000. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 8.0% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 18,885,247 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $4,430,288,000 after acquiring an additional 1,403,200 shares during the last quarter. Ceredex Value Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab in the first quarter worth approximately $153,507,000. First Trust Advisors LP raised its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 316.0% during the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 1,107,667 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $259,848,000 after purchasing an additional 841,377 shares during the last quarter. Finally, StrategIQ Financial Group LLC bought a new position in Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $147,518,000. Institutional investors own 75.04% of the company’s stock.
Insider Buying and Selling
In other Ecolab news, Director Arthur J. Higgins sold 3,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $166.74, for a total value of $533,568.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 22,530 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,756,652.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. In other news, EVP Michael C. Mccormick sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $167.72, for a total transaction of $503,160.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 50,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,396,063.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Arthur J. Higgins sold 3,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $166.74, for a total transaction of $533,568.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 22,530 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,756,652.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.04% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Ecolab Price Performance
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL – Get Rating) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The basic materials company reported $1.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.03. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.56% and a net margin of 8.17%. The firm had revenue of $3.58 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.48 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.22 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 13.2% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.78 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Ecolab Announces Dividend
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 17th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 20th will be issued a $0.51 dividend. This represents a $2.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.23%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 19th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 53.13%.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades
A number of research firms have commented on ECL. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and cut their target price for the stock from $191.00 to $190.00 in a research report on Wednesday, April 27th. BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on Ecolab in a research report on Friday, June 3rd. They set a “hold” rating and a $191.00 price objective for the company. Mizuho cut their price target on Ecolab from $198.00 to $183.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, June 29th. Wells Fargo & Company initiated coverage on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, July 12th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $187.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Northcoast Research started coverage on shares of Ecolab in a report on Friday, July 15th. They issued a “neutral” rating on the stock. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $194.12.
Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and infection prevention solutions and services in the United States and internationally. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional & Specialty, and Global Healthcare & Life Sciences segments. The Global Industrial segment offers water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions to manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, chemical, metals and mining, power generation, pulp and paper, commercial laundry, petroleum, refining, and petrochemical industries.
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