Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) shares reached a new 52-week high during trading on Friday . The company traded as high as $124.11 and last traded at $122.96, with a volume of 443,144 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $122.80.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on ECL shares. Nomura upped their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $94.00 to $98.00 and gave the company a “reduce” rating in a research note on Monday, August 22nd. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, June 22nd. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, May 6th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. upped their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $117.00 to $127.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $126.74.

The stock has a market cap of $35.85 billion and a PE ratio of 38.55. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $121.22 and a 200 day moving average of $115.29.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08. The firm had revenue of $3.32 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.33 billion. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.08 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.44 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 17th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 16th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.14%.

In other news, EVP Timothy P. Mulhere sold 3,762 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.60, for a total transaction of $457,459.20. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 12,725 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,547,360. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 25,800 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $122.41, for a total value of $3,158,178.00. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 456,349 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $55,861,681.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in ECL. American International Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 115,341 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,192,000 after buying an additional 2,560 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 4.3% in the fourth quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 496,378 shares of the company’s stock worth $56,787,000 after buying an additional 20,246 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.3% in the fourth quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 691,105 shares of the company’s stock worth $79,049,000 after buying an additional 22,032 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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