Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund continued to hold its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 27,337 shares of the basic materials company’s stock at the end of the second quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $3,629,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 2,154.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,032,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,884,161,000 after buying an additional 14,365,723 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in Ecolab by 5.4% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,454,223 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,563,731,000 after buying an additional 1,044,370 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its position in Ecolab by 19.3% in the first quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 3,555,051 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $445,590,000 after buying an additional 574,200 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC acquired a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter valued at $59,389,000. Finally, AXA increased its position in Ecolab by 38.6% in the first quarter. AXA now owns 1,406,156 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $176,247,000 after buying an additional 391,686 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.73% of the company’s stock.
Ecolab Inc. (NYSE ECL) traded down 0.09% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $130.11. 720,840 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $37.65 billion, a PE ratio of 29.75 and a beta of 0.98. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $132.10 and its 200 day moving average is $128.08. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $110.65 and a 52-week high of $134.89.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. The firm had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.40 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.08 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be issued a $0.37 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.14%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 33.79%.
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A number of brokerages have commented on ECL. Canaccord Genuity lifted their target price on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. UBS AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $147.00 target price (up from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Morgan Stanley began coverage on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $140.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $130.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ecolab has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $134.20.
In other Ecolab news, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.52, for a total value of $133,520.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 8,922 shares in the company, valued at $1,191,265.44. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 13,700 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $131.30, for a total value of $1,798,810.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 37,851 shares of company stock valued at $5,012,802 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.
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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