Stephens Inc. AR grew its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 4.7% in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 18,332 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after acquiring an additional 822 shares during the period. Stephens Inc. AR’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $2,434,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in ECL. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake 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 buying an additional 14,365,723 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake 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 buying an additional 1,044,370 shares during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its stake 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 buying an additional 574,200 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter worth approximately $59,389,000. Finally, AXA raised its stake 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 buying an additional 391,686 shares during the last quarter. 75.54% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on ECL shares. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated an “outperform” rating and set a $141.00 price objective (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Canaccord Genuity boosted 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. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $133.93.

Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at 131.05 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $37.92 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.96 and a beta of 0.99. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.65 and a 12 month high of $134.89. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $131.31 and a 200 day moving average of $129.38.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The company 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 firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.08 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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 issued a $0.37 dividend. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.13%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 33.79%.

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In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 75,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were acquired at an average cost 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. Also, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total value of $966,270.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Ecolab 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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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