Choate Investment Advisors reduced its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.8% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 4,111 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 75 shares during the period. Choate Investment Advisors’ holdings in Ecolab were worth $546,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of ECL. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 2,154.8% in the 1st 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 during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 5.4% in the 1st 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 during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 19.3% in the 1st 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 during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC bought a new position in shares of Ecolab in the 1st quarter worth $59,389,000. Finally, AXA boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 38.6% in the 1st 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 during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.42% of the company’s stock.

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Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) opened at 130.80 on Tuesday. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $110.65 and a 1-year high of $134.89. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $131.27 and a 200 day moving average price of $129.48. The firm has a market cap of $37.85 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.90 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 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.08 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.74 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.13%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 33.79%.

In other news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total transaction of $966,270.11. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 75,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were bought at an average cost of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

ECL has been the topic of several recent research reports. Canaccord Genuity raised their price target on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. UBS AG restated a “buy” rating and issued a $147.00 price target (up from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, August 15th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $140.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and issued a $130.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, August 16th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price target on Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $133.93.

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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