ProShare Advisors LLC raised its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 0.2% in the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 493,941 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 991 shares during the period. ProShare Advisors LLC owned about 0.17% of Ecolab worth $65,571,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 2,154.8% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,032,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,884,161,000 after purchasing an additional 14,365,723 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 5.4% during 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 purchasing an additional 1,044,370 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 19.3% during the first quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 3,555,051 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $445,590,000 after purchasing an additional 574,200 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter worth about $59,389,000. Finally, AXA increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 38.6% during the first quarter. AXA now owns 1,406,156 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $176,247,000 after purchasing an additional 391,686 shares in the last quarter. 75.42% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In other Ecolab news, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 75,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total transaction of $966,270.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at 130.80 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $37.85 billion, a PE ratio of 29.90 and a beta of 0.99. Ecolab Inc. has a 52 week low of $110.65 and a 52 week high of $134.89. The company’s 50-day moving average is $131.27 and its 200 day moving average is $129.48.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ 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 firm had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.40 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.08 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be issued 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 1.13%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 33.79%.

A number of analysts have recently commented on ECL shares. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Instinet reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $117.00 target price (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. UBS AG reissued a “buy” rating and set a $147.00 target price (up previously from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Nomura reissued a “hold” rating and set a $117.00 target price (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and set a $130.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, August 16th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $133.93.

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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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