Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) – Stock analysts at Seaport Global Securities cut their Q3 2017 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for Ecolab in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. Seaport Global Securities analyst M. Harrison now expects that the basic materials company will post earnings per share of $1.36 for the quarter, down from their previous forecast of $1.40. Seaport Global Securities also issued estimates for Ecolab’s Q4 2018 earnings at $1.60 EPS.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 EPS for the quarter, beating 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 firm had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.40 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.08 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year.
A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on ECL. 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 Tuesday, August 8th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $130.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, August 16th. Instinet reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $117.00 target price (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday. BidaskClub downgraded Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Monday, August 14th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada lifted their target price on Ecolab from $134.00 to $137.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $133.93.
Shares of Ecolab (NYSE ECL) opened at 129.98 on Monday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $131.53 and its 200 day moving average is $129.28. The stock has a market cap of $37.61 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.72 and a beta of 0.99. Ecolab has a 52-week low of $110.65 and a 52-week high of $134.89.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors 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 yield of 1.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.79%.
In related news, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 75,500 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,842,027 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,766,780,000 after buying an additional 387,804 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 2.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,325,707 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,034,488,000 after buying an additional 293,303 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 0.3% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,935,943 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,496,059,000 after buying an additional 31,277 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 6.8% in the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,012,431 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $628,258,000 after buying an additional 320,253 shares in the last quarter. Finally, C WorldWide Group Holding A S increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 8.3% in the second quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,704,233 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $491,737,000 after buying an additional 285,258 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.54% 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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