Nomura Holdings Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 0.1% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 26,911 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 39 shares during the period. Nomura Holdings Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $3,186,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in Ecolab by 1.4% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 18,660,750 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,213,164,000 after buying an additional 253,958 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in Ecolab by 1.2% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,250,339 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,254,647,000 after buying an additional 135,777 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its stake in Ecolab by 1.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 6,900,915 shares of the company’s stock valued at $769,590,000 after buying an additional 77,187 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab by 6.1% in the first quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 4,143,991 shares of the company’s stock valued at $462,142,000 after buying an additional 239,441 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its stake in Ecolab by 6.2% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 3,734,458 shares of the company’s stock valued at $442,907,000 after buying an additional 217,927 shares in the last quarter. 74.79% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) opened at 117.31 on Wednesday. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $98.62 and a 12 month high of $124.60. The firm has a market cap of $34.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 36.79 and a beta of 0.90. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $121.67 and its 200-day moving average price is $117.16.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.08. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.24% and a net margin of 7.20%. The company earned $3.32 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.33 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.08 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.44 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 17th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 20th will be given a $0.35 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 16th. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.19%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 43.89%.

Several research firms have issued reports on ECL. Canaccord Genuity lifted their price objective on Ecolab from $126.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lifted their price objective on Ecolab from $103.00 to $111.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Barclays PLC lifted their price objective on Ecolab from $120.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Citigroup Inc. upgraded Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $127.00 to $141.00 in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $126.74.

In other news, EVP Christophe Beck sold 5,789 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $122.70, for a total value of $710,310.30. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 32,475 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,984,682.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 17,761 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $123.90, for a total value of $2,200,587.90. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 61,342 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,600,273.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

About Ecolab

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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