Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) was the target of a large decline in short interest during the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,210,000 shares, a decline of 11.1% from the January 15th total of 3,610,000 shares. Currently, 1.1% of the shares of the stock are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 1,110,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.9 days.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Permanens Capital L.P. boosted its position in Ecolab by 16.7% during the fourth quarter. Permanens Capital L.P. now owns 350 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $68,000 after purchasing an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Altman Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Ecolab by 0.6% during the fourth quarter. Altman Advisors Inc. now owns 8,783 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,695,000 after purchasing an additional 53 shares during the last quarter. Gryphon Financial Partners LLC boosted its position in Ecolab by 3.7% during the fourth quarter. Gryphon Financial Partners LLC now owns 1,533 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $297,000 after purchasing an additional 54 shares during the last quarter. Pinnacle Associates Ltd. boosted its position in Ecolab by 2.1% during the fourth quarter. Pinnacle Associates Ltd. now owns 2,634 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $508,000 after purchasing an additional 55 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Corundum Group Inc. boosted its position in Ecolab by 4.0% during the fourth quarter. Corundum Group Inc. now owns 1,473 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $284,000 after purchasing an additional 56 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.89% of the company’s stock.

ECL has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Boenning Scattergood cut Ecolab from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, February 7th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their target price on Ecolab from $186.00 to $192.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, December 20th. Eleven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $199.27.

Shares of NYSE ECL traded up $0.25 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $207.31. The company had a trading volume of 1,233,592 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,124,198. The company has a current ratio of 1.24, a quick ratio of 0.84 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69. The stock has a market cap of $59.61 billion, a PE ratio of 39.79, a P/E/G ratio of 2.56 and a beta of 0.80. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $195.88 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $195.22. Ecolab has a 1-year low of $162.21 and a 1-year high of $209.87.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 17th were issued a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.91%. This is a boost from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. The ex-dividend date was Monday, December 16th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is presently 35.81%.

Ecolab Company Profile

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

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