Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC raised its holdings in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.8% in the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 50,976 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after purchasing an additional 900 shares during the quarter. Ecolab accounts for approximately 1.9% of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC’s portfolio, making the stock its 10th largest position. Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $6,767,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in the company. Courier Capital LLC bought a new stake in Ecolab during the 2nd quarter valued at $282,000. Alps Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab by 21.3% during the 2nd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 2,134 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $283,000 after purchasing an additional 375 shares in the last quarter. Stephens Inc. AR increased its stake in Ecolab by 4.7% during the 2nd quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 18,332 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,434,000 after purchasing an additional 822 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its stake in Ecolab by 0.3% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,935,943 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,496,059,000 after purchasing an additional 31,277 shares in the last quarter. Finally, YHB Investment Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab by 0.6% during the 1st quarter. YHB Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 112,954 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $14,581,000 after purchasing an additional 649 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.42% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages have commented on ECL. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. Instinet restated a “neutral” rating and set a $117.00 price target (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Nomura restated a “hold” rating and set a $117.00 price target (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Royal Bank Of Canada boosted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $134.00 to $137.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $145.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Monday, September 11th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $133.77.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded up 0.17% during trading on Friday, hitting $131.97. 769,087 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $38.19 billion, a PE ratio of 30.17 and a beta of 0.98. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $110.65 and a 1-year high of $134.89. The company has a 50 day moving average of $130.86 and a 200-day moving average of $130.00.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings data 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 return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. The company 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 company earned $1.08 EPS. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.73 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed 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. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.12%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 33.79%.

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In other Ecolab news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 75,500 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was bought 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 accessible through this link. Also, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total value of $966,270.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company 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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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