Buffington Mohr McNeal raised its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 0.1% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 22,681 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 19 shares during the period. Ecolab accounts for about 1.2% of Buffington Mohr McNeal’s portfolio, making the stock its 27th largest position. Buffington Mohr McNeal’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $3,011,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co increased its position in Ecolab by 60.0% in the first quarter. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co now owns 800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors increased 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. Harfst & Associates Inc. purchased a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter valued at approximately $117,000. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased 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. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue purchased a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter valued at approximately $134,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.66% of the company’s stock.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE ECL) traded down 0.32% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $129.81. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 618,651 shares. The firm has a market cap of $37.56 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.68 and a beta of 0.98. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $132.19 and its 200 day moving average price is $127.80. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.65 and a 12 month high of $134.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.12 by $0.01. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. The company had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.40 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.08 EPS. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 EPS for the current 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 paid a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 33.79%.

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Several equities analysts recently commented on ECL shares. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Monday, May 1st. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $141.00 price objective (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. J P Morgan Chase & Co upgraded Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG upped their price objective on Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $133.43.

In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 75,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were bought at an average price of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 1,000 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $133.52, for a total transaction of $133,520.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 8,922 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,191,265.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 44,810 shares of company stock worth $5,897,361. 1.49% of the stock is owned by corporate 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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