Swedbank increased its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 8.5% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 1,546,127 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 120,963 shares during the period. Ecolab accounts for approximately 1.4% of Swedbank’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 26th largest position. Swedbank’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $205,249,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Several other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of ECL. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 60.0% in the first quarter. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co now owns 800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 2.5% in the first quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter worth $117,000. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.7% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,012 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $127,000 after buying an additional 7 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter worth $134,000. 75.66% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded down 1.15% during trading on Thursday, hitting $130.84. 209,535 shares of the stock were exchanged. Ecolab Inc. has a 52 week low of $110.65 and a 52 week high of $134.89. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $132.30 and its 200-day moving average price is $127.71. The stock has a market cap of $37.86 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.91 and a beta of 0.98.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. The company had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.40 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.08 earnings per share. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.12%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.79%.
A number of analysts recently weighed in on ECL shares. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, May 1st. UBS AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $147.00 target price (up previously from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 target price on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $130.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG lifted their target price on shares of Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $133.43.
In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 75,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was bought at an average cost of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.52, for a total transaction of $133,520.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 8,922 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,191,265.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 44,810 shares of company stock valued at $5,897,361. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
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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