Investors Sell Shares of Ecolab (ECL) on Strength (ECL)

Investors sold shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) on strength during trading on Monday. $47.28 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $72.93 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $25.65 million out of the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Ecolab had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Ecolab traded up $0.60 for the day and closed at $149.15

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $164.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday. Canaccord Genuity set a $155.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Nomura increased their price target on shares of Ecolab from $125.00 to $136.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 19th. ValuEngine raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets began coverage on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, March 27th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $151.00 target price on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $143.56.

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The firm has a market cap of $43,083.23, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.84, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 1.00. The company has a current ratio of 1.34, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The basic materials company reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.40 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $3.65 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.60 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.90% and a return on equity of 19.10%. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.25 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.35 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 20th were issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, March 19th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 34.97%.

In related news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 694,343 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 7th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $132.10 per share, with a total value of $91,722,710.30. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 442,519 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 9th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $134.60 per share, with a total value of $59,563,057.40. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have purchased 1,848,529 shares of company stock valued at $248,579,565. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in ECL. Pensionfund DSM Netherlands acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at about $3,489,000. Pensionfund Sabic acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at about $1,744,000. Tandem Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 8.4% in the 4th quarter. Tandem Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 57,450 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $7,709,000 after buying an additional 4,463 shares during the period. DnB Asset Management AS boosted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 6.8% in the 4th quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 31,558 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $4,234,000 after buying an additional 2,000 shares during the period. Finally, Gillespie Robinson & Grimm Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 0.7% in the 4th quarter. Gillespie Robinson & Grimm Inc. now owns 195,542 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $26,238,000 after buying an additional 1,325 shares during the period. 78.38% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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.

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