KCM Investment Advisors LLC grew its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.3% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 106,695 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 1,333 shares during the period. Ecolab makes up 1.1% of KCM Investment Advisors LLC’s portfolio, making the stock its 28th largest position. KCM Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $20,591,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Corbenic Partners LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter worth $29,000. Sugarloaf Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 4th quarter worth approximately $31,000. Pacitti Group Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 4th quarter worth approximately $34,000. Quantum Capital Management acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $38,000. Finally, Tobias Financial Advisors Inc. bought a new position in Ecolab in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $38,000. 75.62% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Several research analysts have commented on ECL shares. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $178.00 to $200.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 19th. Boenning Scattergood cut Ecolab from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, February 7th. UBS Group lowered their target price on Ecolab from $210.00 to $206.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, March 10th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and lowered their target price for the stock from $200.00 to $152.00 in a report on Tuesday, March 17th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $204.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, March 4th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $197.07.

Shares of Ecolab stock traded up $8.08 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $159.86. The company had a trading volume of 48,077 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,404,019. The stock has a fifty day moving average price of $188.87 and a 200 day moving average price of $191.39. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 0.92. The firm has a market cap of $44.08 billion, a PE ratio of 29.91, a P/E/G ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 0.78. Ecolab Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $124.60 and a fifty-two week high of $211.24.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, February 18th. The basic materials company reported $1.66 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.70 by ($0.04). The firm had revenue of $3.82 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.89 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.46% and a return on equity of 20.11%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.54 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post 6.15 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, April 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 17th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 16th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.18%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 32.30%.

In other Ecolab news, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 162,723 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $206.44, for a total transaction of $33,592,536.12. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 750,104 shares in the company, valued at approximately $154,851,469.76. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 9,233 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Sunday, February 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $207.66, for a total transaction of $1,917,324.78. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 750,104 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $155,766,596.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 273,546 shares of company stock worth $56,033,000. 1.52% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

About Ecolab

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.

Further Reading: Portfolio Manager

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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