Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) shares hit a new 52-week high on Friday . The company traded as high as $124.24 and last traded at $123.60, with a volume of 262,058 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $123.10.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on ECL. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $103.00 to $111.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $120.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Citigroup Inc. raised shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $127.00 to $141.00 in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Stifel Nicolaus cut shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 2nd. Finally, Canaccord Genuity raised their target price on shares of Ecolab from $126.00 to $135.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $126.74.

The company’s 50-day moving average price is $121.63 and its 200-day moving average price is $115.80. The firm has a market cap of $36.14 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.86.

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

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

In related news, EVP Timothy P. Mulhere sold 3,762 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 8th. The shares were 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 owns 12,725 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,547,360. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 17,761 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $123.90, for a total transaction of $2,200,587.90. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 61,342 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,600,273.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its stake 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 in the last quarter. 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 worth $13,192,000 after buying an additional 2,560 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake 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 in 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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