Martingale Asset Management L P lowered its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 0.7% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 44,020 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 296 shares during the period. Martingale Asset Management L P’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $5,518,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Dynamic Advisors Solutions LLC raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.2% in the first quarter. Dynamic Advisors Solutions LLC now owns 6,384 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $800,000 after buying an additional 195 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter valued at $134,000. DAVENPORT & Co LLC raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 5.7% in the first quarter. DAVENPORT & Co LLC now owns 286,445 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $34,155,000 after buying an additional 15,419 shares during the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 269.4% in the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 191,189 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $23,964,000 after buying an additional 139,434 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Caldwell & Orkin Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at $1,946,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.12% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE ECL) opened at 134.61 on Tuesday. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.65 and a 12 month high of $134.89. The company’s 50-day moving average is $129.99 and its 200-day moving average is $124.39. The company has a market cap of $39.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.80 and a beta of 1.01.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.80 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.96% and a net margin of 9.47%. The company had revenue of $3.17 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.16 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.77 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 17th. Investors of record on Tuesday, June 20th will be given a $0.37 dividend. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, June 16th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 34.91%.

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Several brokerages recently weighed in on ECL. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $141.00 price objective (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $135.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Monday, May 1st. Edward Jones raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 22nd. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, February 24th. Finally, Instinet raised shares of Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $99.00 to $118.00 in a research report on Monday, April 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $129.79.

In related news, Director Carl M. Casale purchased 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 5th. The shares were bought at an average price of $126.33 per share, for a total transaction of $631,650.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 11,495 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,452,163.35. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Stephen M. Taylor sold 23,151 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.06, for a total value of $3,080,472.06. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 44,466 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,916,645.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 44,810 shares of company stock worth $5,897,361 in the last 90 days. 1.49% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

About Ecolab

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s cleaning and sanitizing programs and products, pest elimination services and equipment maintenance and repair services support customers in the foodservice, food and beverage processing, hospitality, healthcare, government and education, retail, textile care and commercial facilities management sectors in over 170 countries.

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