Davis Selected Advisers Trims Stake in Ecolab Inc. (ECL)

Davis Selected Advisers trimmed its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 16.6% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 1,396,786 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 277,086 shares during the period. Davis Selected Advisers owned approximately 0.48% of Ecolab worth $185,423,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in ECL. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 2,154.8% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,032,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,884,161,000 after purchasing an additional 14,365,723 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 5.4% during the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,454,223 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,563,731,000 after purchasing an additional 1,044,370 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 19.3% during the first quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 3,555,051 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $445,590,000 after purchasing an additional 574,200 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter worth approximately $59,389,000. Finally, AXA lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 38.6% during the first quarter. AXA now owns 1,406,156 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $176,247,000 after purchasing an additional 391,686 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.54% of the company’s stock.

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Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, September 6th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $141.00 price objective (up from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Canaccord Genuity increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 23rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ecolab has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $134.07.

In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 75,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were purchased at an average price of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) opened at 129.83 on Tuesday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $131.58 and a 200 day moving average of $129.28. Ecolab Inc. has a 52 week low of $110.65 and a 52 week high of $134.89. The company has a market cap of $37.57 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.68 and a beta of 0.99.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.08 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be given a $0.37 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.14%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 33.79%.

Ecolab Company Profile

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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