Citigroup Downgrades Ecolab (ECL) to Neutral

Citigroup downgraded shares of Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report issued on Friday, January 5th, Marketbeat.com reports.

Other analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Barclays lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. UBS Group lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $147.00 to $148.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Nomura reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $117.00 price target (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Jefferies Group boosted their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a hold rating and issued a $140.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $137.21.

Ecolab (ECL) traded up $0.65 on Friday, reaching $137.68. The company had a trading volume of 1,266,995 shares, compared to its average volume of 889,027. The company has a current ratio of 1.23, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89. The stock has a market capitalization of $39,589.93, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.94, a P/E/G ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 1.05. Ecolab has a 12 month low of $117.53 and a 12 month high of $138.12.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.55 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.67% and a return on equity of 19.05%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.28 earnings per share. analysts predict that Ecolab will post 4.7 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, December 19th will be issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, December 18th. This is a positive change from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.19%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 33.26%.

In other news, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 347 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $134.77, for a total transaction of $46,765.19. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,615 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,026,273.55. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 19,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $137.54, for a total transaction of $2,654,522.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 43,262 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,950,255.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 57,446 shares of company stock worth $7,886,307 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.2% in the fourth quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 115,451 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $15,491,000 after acquiring an additional 1,350 shares during the period. Chelsea Counsel Co. acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter worth about $201,000. Rockland Trust Co. raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Rockland Trust Co. now owns 73,991 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $9,928,000 after acquiring an additional 1,666 shares during the period. CGOV Asset Management raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. CGOV Asset Management now owns 394,629 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $66,282,000 after acquiring an additional 2,695 shares during the period. Finally, Caledonia Investments PLC acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter worth about $6,709,000. Institutional investors own 76.55% of the company’s stock.

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About Ecolab

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s cleaning and sanitizing programs and products, pest elimination services and equipment maintenance and repair services support customers in the foodservice, food and beverage processing, hospitality, healthcare, government and education, retail, textile care and commercial facilities management sectors in over 170 countries.

Analyst Recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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