Ecolab (ECL) Lifted to Overweight at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) from a neutral rating to an overweight rating in a research report released on Wednesday morning, MarketBeat.com reports. JPMorgan Chase & Co. currently has $157.00 target price on the basic materials company’s stock, up from their previous target price of $147.00.

A number of other brokerages have also recently weighed in on ECL. UBS Group boosted their price target on Ecolab from $165.00 to $180.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 2nd. Zacks Investment Research cut Ecolab from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 24th. Nomura reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $146.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, August 1st. ValuEngine raised Ecolab from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity set a $160.00 price target on Ecolab and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 24th. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ecolab has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $152.38.

ECL opened at $154.59 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $44.66 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.31, a PEG ratio of 2.29 and a beta of 0.87. Ecolab has a 1 year low of $125.74 and a 1 year high of $159.92. The company has a quick ratio of 0.84, a current ratio of 1.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.53 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.53. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.13% and a net margin of 10.99%. The company had revenue of $3.75 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.74 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.37 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, analysts predict that Ecolab will post 5.27 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, EVP Christophe Beck sold 25,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $147.83, for a total transaction of $3,769,665.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 27,649 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,087,351.67. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Victoria Reich sold 6,700 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $148.40, for a total value of $994,280.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 20,987 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,114,470.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 104,285 shares of company stock valued at $15,825,260 in the last three months. 1.50% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Mn Services Vermogensbeheer B.V. lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 2.2% during the 3rd quarter. Mn Services Vermogensbeheer B.V. now owns 41,620 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $6,525,000 after purchasing an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 157.6% during the 3rd quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 69,300 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $10,865,000 after purchasing an additional 42,400 shares during the last quarter. Forbes J M & Co. LLP lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 1,300.6% during the 3rd quarter. Forbes J M & Co. LLP now owns 24,650 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $3,864,000 after purchasing an additional 22,890 shares during the last quarter. OLD Point Trust & Financial Services N A lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 4.3% during the 3rd quarter. OLD Point Trust & Financial Services N A now owns 24,370 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $3,821,000 after purchasing an additional 1,010 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Chicago Capital LLC lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 4.5% during the 3rd quarter. Chicago Capital LLC now owns 12,691 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,990,000 after purchasing an additional 545 shares during the last quarter. 76.15% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Ecolab

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services for customers worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, and Global Energy segments. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to large industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, chemical, mining and primary metals, power generation, pulp and paper, and commercial laundry industries.

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