Bank of The West decreased its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 11.7% during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 3,726 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 496 shares during the period. Bank of The West’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $495,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its position in Ecolab by 0.7% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,012 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $127,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. Rench Wealth Management Inc. raised its position in Ecolab by 0.3% in the first quarter. Rench Wealth Management Inc. now owns 2,995 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $375,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors raised its position in Ecolab by 2.5% in the first quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 21 shares during the last quarter. ZWJ Investment Counsel Inc. raised its position in Ecolab by 1.2% in the first quarter. ZWJ Investment Counsel Inc. now owns 2,530 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $317,000 after buying an additional 30 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ironwood Investment Management LLC raised its position in Ecolab by 1.2% in the first quarter. Ironwood Investment Management LLC now owns 2,689 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $337,000 after buying an additional 32 shares during the last quarter. 75.66% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded up 0.46% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $131.84. 228,961 shares of the stock were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $38.21 billion, a PE ratio of 30.14 and a beta of 0.98. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $132.51 and a 200 day moving average price of $127.37. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $110.65 and a 1-year high of $134.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.12 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. The company had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.40 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.08 EPS. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be issued a $0.37 dividend. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.13%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.79%.

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A number of brokerages have weighed in on ECL. Deutsche Bank AG lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $141.00 price target (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Canaccord Genuity lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $133.43.

In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 75,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were bought at an average cost of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Christophe Beck sold 6,959 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $127.11, for a total value of $884,558.49. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 42,419 shares in the company, valued at $5,391,879.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 44,810 shares of company stock worth $5,897,361. 1.49% of the stock is 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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