US Ecology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECOL) has received an average recommendation of “Hold” from the six ratings firms that are presently covering the company, Marketbeat.com reports. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, one has issued a hold recommendation and two have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $53.75.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on ECOL shares. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $60.00 target price on shares of US Ecology in a research note on Friday, September 8th. BidaskClub raised shares of US Ecology from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 30th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $60.00 target price on shares of US Ecology in a research note on Friday, October 6th. BMO Capital Markets started coverage on shares of US Ecology in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $54.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of US Ecology from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, October 2nd.

US Ecology (NASDAQ ECOL) traded up 1.43% during trading on Friday, reaching $53.05. 60,298 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. US Ecology has a 52-week low of $38.00 and a 52-week high of $55.75. The company’s 50 day moving average is $51.72 and its 200-day moving average is $50.31. The stock has a market cap of $1.16 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 41.48 and a beta of 0.66.

US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The business services provider reported $0.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.38. US Ecology had a net margin of 5.86% and a return on equity of 11.37%. The firm had revenue of $126.06 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $128.38 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.41 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that US Ecology will post $1.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 27th. Investors of record on Friday, October 20th will be paid a $0.18 dividend. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.38%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 19th. US Ecology’s dividend payout ratio is currently 56.25%.

In related news, Director Stephen A. Romano sold 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.05, for a total value of $156,150.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 28,395 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,477,959.75. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Katina Dorton bought 600 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 25th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $47.16 per share, for a total transaction of $28,296.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 3,970 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $187,225.20. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Flinton Capital Management LLC grew its position in US Ecology by 54.3% during the second quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 1,988 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $100,000 after acquiring an additional 700 shares during the last quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. grew its position in US Ecology by 2.0% during the second quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 2,090 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $106,000 after acquiring an additional 40 shares during the last quarter. Vestor Capital LLC bought a new position in US Ecology during the second quarter valued at approximately $116,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its position in US Ecology by 36.4% during the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,779 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $130,000 after acquiring an additional 742 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. grew its position in US Ecology by 193.2% during the first quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 2,865 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $133,000 after acquiring an additional 1,888 shares during the last quarter. 85.63% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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US Ecology Company Profile

US Ecology, Inc is a provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities. The Company offers treatment, disposal and recycling of hazardous, non-hazardous and radioactive waste, as well as a range of field and industrial services. The Company operates in two business segments: Environmental Services, and Field & Industrial Services.

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