Ecolab’s (ECL) “Hold” Rating Reaffirmed at Jefferies Group LLC

Jefferies Group LLC reiterated their hold rating on shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $130.00 price target on the basic materials company’s stock.

ECL has been the subject of a number of other reports. Deutsche Bank AG raised their price target on Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an outperform rating and set a $141.00 price target (up from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ecolab from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price target on Ecolab and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Canaccord Genuity raised their price target on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $134.20.

Ecolab (ECL) opened at 130.11 on Wednesday. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $132.07 and its 200-day moving average price is $128.14. The company has a market cap of $37.65 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.75 and a beta of 0.98. Ecolab has a one year low of $110.65 and a one year high of $134.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. The firm had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.40 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.08 EPS. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Ecolab will post $4.80 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced 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. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.14%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.79%.

In other news, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 13,700 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $131.30, for a total value of $1,798,810.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 1,000 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $133.52, for a total value of $133,520.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 8,922 shares in the company, valued at $1,191,265.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 37,851 shares of company stock valued at $5,012,802. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in ECL. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,842,027 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,766,780,000 after buying an additional 387,804 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 2.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,325,707 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,034,488,000 after buying an additional 293,303 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 0.3% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,935,943 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,496,059,000 after buying an additional 31,277 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 6.8% in the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,012,431 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $628,258,000 after buying an additional 320,253 shares in the last quarter. Finally, C WorldWide Group Holding A S increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 8.3% in the second quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,704,233 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $491,737,000 after buying an additional 285,258 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.73% of the company’s stock.

About Ecolab

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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