New Mexico Educational Retirement Board cut its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 2.3% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 21,180 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 500 shares during the period. New Mexico Educational Retirement Board’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $3,739,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Northstar Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 4.7% in the first quarter. Northstar Group Inc. now owns 16,315 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,885,000 after acquiring an additional 738 shares in the last quarter. Autus Asset Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.8% in the first quarter. Autus Asset Management LLC now owns 57,646 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $10,178,000 after acquiring an additional 996 shares in the last quarter. Palisade Asset Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 17.5% in the first quarter. Palisade Asset Management LLC now owns 33,695 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,949,000 after acquiring an additional 5,020 shares in the last quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.6% in the first quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 14,504 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,560,000 after acquiring an additional 230 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Sciencast Management LP lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 56.1% in the first quarter. Sciencast Management LP now owns 3,825 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $693,000 after acquiring an additional 1,375 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 76.33% of the company’s stock.
A number of research firms recently commented on ECL. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 16th. Credit Suisse Group set a $154.00 target price on Ecolab and gave the stock an “in-line” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $210.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Seaport Global Securities reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Finally, Edward Jones downgraded Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, April 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $163.93.
In related news, Director David Maclennan acquired 1,000 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 6th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $171.05 per share, with a total value of $171,050.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 2,519 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $430,874.95. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.14, for a total value of $26,733,247.50. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 536,060 shares in the company, valued at $91,205,248.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 303,489 shares of company stock worth $51,945,415 over the last three months. 1.52% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Shares of NYSE ECL opened at $185.36 on Wednesday. The company has a current ratio of 1.27, a quick ratio of 0.85 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $135.77 and a 1-year high of $185.76. The company has a market cap of $53.45 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.31, a P/E/G ratio of 2.50 and a beta of 0.89.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 19th. The basic materials company reported $1.54 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.54. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.44% and a net margin of 9.74%. The company had revenue of $3.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.76 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.38 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 19th were paid a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, March 18th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.99%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 35.05%.
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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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