Welch & Forbes LLC raised its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.4% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 392,712 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 5,369 shares during the period. Ecolab accounts for approximately 1.5% of Welch & Forbes LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 19th largest position. Welch & Forbes LLC owned about 0.14% of Ecolab worth $52,132,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of ECL. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co boosted its position in Ecolab by 60.0% in the first quarter. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co now owns 800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors boosted its position in Ecolab by 2.5% in the first quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. purchased a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter valued at $117,000. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America boosted its position in 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 valued at $127,000 after buying an additional 7 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue purchased a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter valued at $134,000. 75.73% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at 130.11 on Monday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $132.07 and its 200 day moving average price is $128.14. The firm has a market cap of $37.65 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.75 and a beta of 0.98. Ecolab Inc. has a 52 week low of $110.65 and a 52 week high of $134.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly 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. The firm had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. The company’s revenue was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.08 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be issued a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend 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 is 33.79%.

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Several research firms recently weighed in on ECL. Canaccord Genuity raised their target price on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $130.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, August 16th. BidaskClub cut shares of Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Monday, August 14th. UBS AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $147.00 price objective (up from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, August 8th. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co raised shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research report on Friday, May 26th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $134.20.

In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 75,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were bought at an average cost of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 13,700 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 30th. The shares were 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. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 37,851 shares of company stock worth $5,012,802. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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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