Montecito Bank & Trust decreased its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 6.9% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The firm owned 5,911 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 441 shares during the period. Montecito Bank & Trust’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $785,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America boosted its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. Rench Wealth Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors boosted its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. ZWJ Investment Counsel Inc. boosted its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. Finally, Ironwood Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. 75.66% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at 129.81 on Friday. Ecolab Inc. has a one year low of $110.65 and a one year high of $134.89. The company has a 50-day moving average of $132.19 and a 200 day moving average of $127.80. The firm has a market capitalization of $37.56 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.68 and a beta of 0.98.

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

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.14%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.79%.

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Several brokerages have weighed in on ECL. Canaccord Genuity upped their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. UBS AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $147.00 price objective (up from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, August 8th. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $130.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $133.43.

In other Ecolab 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 acquired at an average cost of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Christophe Beck sold 6,959 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $127.11, for a total transaction of $884,558.49. Following the sale, 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 have sold 44,810 shares of company stock worth $5,897,361. 1.49% of the stock is owned by corporate 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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