Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) shares rose 2.7% on Tuesday . The company traded as high as $121.94 and last traded at $121.82, with a volume of 981,941 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $118.67.

A number of research firms have recently issued reports on ECL. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th. Nomura cut their target price on shares of Ecolab from $96.00 to $94.00 and set a “reduce” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, June 29th. Barclays PLC reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $120.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, July 1st. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $126.00 price objective (up previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, May 24th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. lifted their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $117.00 to $127.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $120.83.

The stock has a market capitalization of $36.02 billion and a PE ratio of 36.98. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $118.97 and a 200-day moving average of $113.06.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.08. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.08 EPS. The firm earned $3.32 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.33 billion. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect 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. Investors of record on Tuesday, June 21st were paid a $0.35 dividend. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.14%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, June 17th.

In related news, VP Bryan L. Hughes sold 6,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.03, for a total value of $702,180.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 13,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,579,905. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Timothy P. Mulhere sold 3,762 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.60, for a total value of $457,459.20. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 12,725 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,547,360. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds have made changes to their positions in ECL. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 7.8% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 4,305,179 shares of the company’s stock worth $492,426,000 after buying an additional 310,911 shares during the last quarter. BHF Kleinwort Benson Group S.A. acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter worth approximately $30,421,000. Edgewood Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 4.8% in the fourth quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 3,001,196 shares of the company’s stock worth $343,277,000 after buying an additional 137,185 shares during the last quarter. Roosevelt Investment Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 101.0% in the fourth quarter. Roosevelt Investment Group Inc. now owns 188,434 shares of the company’s stock worth $21,553,000 after buying an additional 94,686 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Aberdeen Asset Management PLC UK raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 45.6% in the fourth quarter. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC UK now owns 288,997 shares of the company’s stock worth $34,838,000 after buying an additional 90,498 shares during the last quarter.

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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