Ecolab (ECL) Downgraded to Neutral at Citigroup

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

ECL has been the topic of a number of other reports. Robert W. Baird reissued a hold rating and set a $140.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Jefferies Group raised their price objective on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Barclays raised their price objective on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Canaccord Genuity restated a buy rating and set a $145.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Monday, September 11th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ecolab from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $139.00.

Shares of Ecolab (ECL) traded down $0.17 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $138.15. The stock had a trading volume of 1,190,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,120,000. Ecolab has a 12-month low of $119.09 and a 12-month high of $140.50. The firm has a market capitalization of $39,910.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.11, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.02 and a beta of 1.05. The company has a quick ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 1.23 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The firm had revenue of $3.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.55 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.28 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Ecolab will post 4.7 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 19th were issued a $0.41 dividend. This is an increase from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.19%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 18th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is presently 33.33%.

In other Ecolab news, VP Larry L. Berger sold 5,197 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $137.37, for a total value of $713,911.89. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 33,110 shares in the company, valued at $4,548,320.70. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director David Maclennan bought 450 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 6th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $131.77 per share, with a total value of $59,296.50. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 1,514 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $199,499.78. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 57,446 shares of company stock valued at $7,886,307. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,842,027 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,766,780,000 after acquiring an additional 387,804 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 2.0% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,325,707 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,034,488,000 after acquiring an additional 293,303 shares in the last quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 1.8% during the third quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,769,066 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $484,739,000 after acquiring an additional 64,833 shares in the last quarter. Edgewood Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 0.9% during the third quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 3,503,447 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $450,578,000 after acquiring an additional 30,773 shares in the last quarter. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 2.3% during the second quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 2,285,128 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $303,351,000 after acquiring an additional 51,316 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.60% 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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