HL Financial Services LLC raised its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 4.8% during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 19,052 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 879 shares during the period. HL Financial Services LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $2,260,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in ECL. Washington Trust Bank increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 29.2% in the second quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 1,592 shares of the company’s stock valued at $189,000 after buying an additional 360 shares during the period. Eagle Ridge Investment Management purchased a new position in Ecolab during the second quarter worth about $226,000. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. increased its position in Ecolab by 16.9% in the first quarter. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. now owns 2,153 shares of the company’s stock worth $240,000 after buying an additional 311 shares during the last quarter. Private Bank & Trust Co. increased its position in Ecolab by 10.6% in the second quarter. Private Bank & Trust Co. now owns 2,094 shares of the company’s stock worth $248,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Finally, SevenBridge Financial Group LLC purchased a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter worth about $250,000. 74.79% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) traded up 1.01% on Wednesday, hitting $118.49. The stock had a trading volume of 749,604 shares. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $121.55 and its 200 day moving average price is $117.17. The firm has a market cap of $34.55 billion, a PE ratio of 37.16 and a beta of 0.90. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $98.62 and a 52-week high of $124.60.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.24% and a net margin of 7.20%. The firm earned $3.32 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.33 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.08 EPS. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.44 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 17th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 20th will be paid a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 16th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.18%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 43.89%.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on ECL shares. Nomura increased their price target on Ecolab from $94.00 to $98.00 and gave the stock a “reduce” rating in a research report on Monday, August 22nd. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, July 6th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Citigroup Inc. increased their price target on Ecolab from $117.00 to $127.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, July 15th. Finally, Barclays PLC reissued an “overweight” rating and set a $120.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Friday, July 1st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. Ecolab currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $126.74.

In related news, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 17,761 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $123.90, for a total transaction 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 approximately $7,600,273.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 25,800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $122.41, for a total value of $3,158,178.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 456,349 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $55,861,681.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

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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