Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) gapped up before the market opened on Thursday . The stock had previously closed at $120.34, but opened at $120.56. Ecolab shares last traded at $121.30, with a volume of 281,848 shares traded.

Several equities research analysts have recently commented on the company. Citigroup Inc. boosted their price target on Ecolab from $117.00 to $127.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th. Nomura Holdings Inc. reissued a “sell” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, June 30th. Barclays PLC reissued an “overweight” rating and set a $120.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, July 1st. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, June 22nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. Ecolab has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $120.83.

The company has a market capitalization of $35.48 billion and a PE ratio of 36.42. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $118.94 and its 200 day moving average is $112.18.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 3rd. The company reported $0.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.01. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.80 EPS. The business earned $3.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.12 billion. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 6.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.44 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, June 21st were given a $0.35 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, June 17th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.16%.

In other Ecolab news, EVP Timothy P. Mulhere sold 3,762 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $121.60, for a total value of $457,459.20. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 12,725 shares in the company, valued at $1,547,360. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, VP Larry L. Berger sold 11,590 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $116.33, for a total transaction of $1,348,264.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 27,729 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,225,714.57. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors have bought and sold shares of ECL. Norinchukin Bank The raised its position in Ecolab by 15.2% in the fourth quarter. Norinchukin Bank The now owns 113,030 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,928,000 after buying an additional 14,936 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in Ecolab by 7.8% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 4,305,179 shares of the company’s stock valued at $492,426,000 after buying an additional 310,911 shares during the period. Dorsey & Whitney Trust CO LLC raised its position in Ecolab by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Dorsey & Whitney Trust CO LLC now owns 71,093 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,131,000 after buying an additional 1,624 shares during the period. Suntrust Banks Inc. raised its position in Ecolab by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 312,788 shares of the company’s stock valued at $35,775,000 after buying an additional 1,322 shares during the period. Finally, Edgewood Management LLC raised its position in Ecolab by 4.8% in the fourth quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 3,001,196 shares of the company’s stock valued at $343,277,000 after buying an additional 137,185 shares during the period.

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s segments include Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, Other and Corporate. The Global Industrial segment consists of the Water, Food and Beverage, Paper and Textile Care operating units. The Global Institutional segment consists of the Institutional, Specialty and Healthcare operating units.

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