Boenning & Scattergood Inc. increased its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 42.8% during the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 4,574 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 1,372 shares during the quarter. Boenning & Scattergood Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $674,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of ECL. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 84.9% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,752,688 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $526,615,000 after purchasing an additional 1,723,429 shares during the period. Edgewood Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 19.7% in the 3rd quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 6,762,577 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,060,237,000 after purchasing an additional 1,111,893 shares during the period. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. raised its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 36.4% in the 3rd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 2,291,691 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $359,291,000 after purchasing an additional 611,370 shares during the period. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab in the 3rd quarter valued at about $81,867,000. Finally, Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 612.7% in the 3rd quarter. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC now owns 526,952 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,990,000 after purchasing an additional 453,014 shares during the period. 75.81% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

In other Ecolab news, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 40,025 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $160.20, for a total transaction of $6,412,005.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 558,017 shares in the company, valued at approximately $89,394,323.40. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Leslie S. Biller sold 2,811 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $160.40, for a total transaction of $450,884.40. Following the transaction, the director now owns 57,842 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,277,856.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

ECL has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $176.00 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 10th. UBS Group upped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $165.00 to $180.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 2nd. Bank of America initiated coverage on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $123.00 target price on the stock. Deutsche Bank upped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $150.00 to $162.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, November 5th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets increased their price target on shares of Ecolab from $151.00 to $159.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, November 1st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $154.47.

Ecolab stock traded down $1.58 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $152.92. The company had a trading volume of 956,002 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,007,807. The stock has a market cap of $44.63 billion, a P/E ratio of 32.61, a P/E/G ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.89. The company has a quick ratio of 0.90, a current ratio of 1.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79. Ecolab Inc. has a one year low of $125.74 and a one year high of $162.91.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.53 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.53. The firm had revenue of $3.75 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.74 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.99% and a return on equity of 19.13%. The business’s revenue was up 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.37 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.25 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 18th were issued a $0.46 dividend. This is a boost from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.20%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, December 17th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 39.23%.

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About Ecolab

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services for customers worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, and Global Energy segments. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to large industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, chemical, mining and primary metals, power generation, pulp and paper, and commercial laundry industries.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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