Aureus Asset Management LLC reduced its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.9% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 2,304 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 44 shares during the period. Aureus Asset Management LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $292,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 5.4% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,454,223 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,563,731,000 after buying an additional 1,044,370 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 19.3% in the first quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 3,555,051 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $445,590,000 after buying an additional 574,200 shares during the period. AXA boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 38.6% in the first quarter. AXA now owns 1,406,156 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $176,247,000 after buying an additional 391,686 shares during the period. C WorldWide Group Holding A S boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 10.8% in the first quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,418,975 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $428,535,000 after buying an additional 333,261 shares during the period. Finally, UBS Group AG boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 11.8% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 2,822,097 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $353,722,000 after buying an additional 297,405 shares during the period. 75.71% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE ECL) opened at 132.45 on Friday. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $110.65 and a 52-week high of $134.89. The company has a market capitalization of $38.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.29 and a beta of 0.98. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $132.94 and its 200 day moving average price is $126.39.

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

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 17th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, June 20th were issued a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, June 16th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.12%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 34.91%.

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Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Nomura raised Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $99.00 to $118.00 in a research note on Monday, April 3rd. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating and set a $135.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Monday, May 1st. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $141.00 target price (up from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Instinet raised Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $99.00 to $118.00 in a research note on Monday, April 3rd. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co raised Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research note on Friday, May 26th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ecolab currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $129.79.

In other news, Director Carl M. Casale acquired 5,000 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Friday, May 5th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $126.33 per share, for a total transaction of $631,650.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 11,495 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,452,163.35. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.52, for a total value of $133,520.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 8,922 shares in the company, valued at $1,191,265.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 44,810 shares of company stock worth $5,897,361 over the last 90 days. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Ecolab Company Profile

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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