US Ecology (ECOL) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “US Ecology, Inc., formerly known as American Ecology Corporation, provides radioactive, PCB, hazardous, and non-hazardous waste services to commercial and government customers throughout the United States. The Company operates through its subsidiaries and provides its services to steel mills, medical and academic institutions, refineries, chemical manufacturing facilities and the nuclear power industry. Its subsidiaries include US Ecology Nevada, Inc., US Ecology Washington, Inc., US Ecology Texas, Inc., US Ecology Idaho, Inc., and US Ecology Field Services, Inc. The Company operates through two business segments: operating disposal facilities and non-operating disposal facilities. US Ecology, Inc. is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. “

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on ECOL. BidaskClub cut US Ecology from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 18th. Canaccord Genuity restated a buy rating and issued a $72.00 target price (up from $64.00) on shares of US Ecology in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Stifel Nicolaus upped their target price on US Ecology from $64.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 6th. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on US Ecology from $65.00 to $75.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research note on Friday, September 7th. Finally, UBS Group upped their target price on US Ecology from $56.00 to $61.00 and gave the company a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 5th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $71.20.

Shares of ECOL traded up $2.75 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $71.75. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 130,382 shares, compared to its average volume of 90,888. US Ecology has a one year low of $44.50 and a one year high of $77.15. The company has a current ratio of 2.45, a quick ratio of 2.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.81. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 41.72 and a beta of 0.51.

US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 1st. The business services provider reported $0.70 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.62 by $0.08. US Ecology had a return on equity of 14.12% and a net margin of 11.74%. The company had revenue of $151.42 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $144.11 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.37 earnings per share. US Ecology’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that US Ecology will post 2.24 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 26th. Investors of record on Friday, October 19th were paid a $0.18 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, October 18th. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.00%. US Ecology’s payout ratio is 41.86%.

In other US Ecology news, Director Joe F. Colvin sold 9,400 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.02, for a total transaction of $658,188.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 7,000 shares in the company, valued at $490,140. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, COO Simon G. Bell sold 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, September 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.95, for a total value of $227,850.00. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 31,197 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,369,412.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 57,944 shares of company stock valued at $4,128,574 over the last 90 days. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECOL. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in US Ecology by 8.3% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,997,106 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $190,914,000 after acquiring an additional 230,864 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC raised its stake in US Ecology by 1,440.5% during the first quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 177,083 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $9,439,000 after acquiring an additional 165,588 shares in the last quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. raised its stake in US Ecology by 4,461.9% during the second quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 40,190 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,560,000 after acquiring an additional 39,309 shares in the last quarter. Moody Aldrich Partners LLC raised its stake in US Ecology by 74.9% during the second quarter. Moody Aldrich Partners LLC now owns 56,667 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $3,610,000 after acquiring an additional 24,265 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado raised its stake in US Ecology by 10.3% during the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado now owns 224,644 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $14,310,000 after acquiring an additional 21,000 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.40% of the company’s stock.

About US Ecology

US Ecology, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides environmental services to commercial and government entities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It operates in two segments, Environmental Services; and Field & Industrial Services. The Environmental Services segment offers hazardous material management services, including transportation, recycling, treatment, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste at its landfill, wastewater, and other treatment facilities.

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