Financial Counselors Inc. lessened its holdings in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 70,898 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 349 shares during the period. Financial Counselors Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $9,412,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other large investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its stake in Ecolab by 0.7% during the 1st quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,012 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $127,000 after acquiring an additional 7 shares during the period. Rench Wealth Management Inc. raised its stake in Ecolab by 0.3% during the 1st quarter. Rench Wealth Management Inc. now owns 2,995 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $375,000 after acquiring an additional 9 shares during the period. Ironwood Investment Management LLC raised its stake in Ecolab by 0.7% during the 2nd quarter. Ironwood Investment Management LLC now owns 2,708 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $359,000 after acquiring an additional 19 shares during the period. JNBA Financial Advisors raised its stake in Ecolab by 2.5% during the 1st quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $109,000 after acquiring an additional 21 shares during the period. Finally, Atwood & Palmer Inc. raised its stake in Ecolab by 2.9% during the 2nd quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. now owns 892 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $118,000 after acquiring an additional 25 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.54% of the company’s stock.

In other Ecolab news, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 75,500 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on ECL shares. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated an “outperform” rating and set a $141.00 target price (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Royal Bank Of Canada raised their target price on shares of Ecolab from $134.00 to $137.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG raised their target price on shares of Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. Ecolab presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $133.93.

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Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at 131.01 on Friday. Ecolab Inc. has a one year low of $110.65 and a one year high of $134.89. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $131.34 and its 200-day moving average is $129.33. The stock has a market capitalization of $37.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.95 and a beta of 0.99.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.08 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.74 EPS for the current year.

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

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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