Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services LLC bought a new stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) in the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm bought 14,508 shares of the basic materials company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,915,000.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America lifted 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 during the period. Rench Wealth Management Inc. lifted 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 during the period. Green Square Capital LLC lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.3% in the second quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 2,836 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $377,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the period. Ironwood Investment Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.7% in the second quarter. Ironwood Investment Management LLC now owns 2,708 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $359,000 after buying an additional 19 shares during the period. Finally, JNBA Financial Advisors lifted 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 during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.39% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded up 0.68% on Friday, reaching $132.63. 380,335 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.65 and a 12 month high of $134.89. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $131.39 and its 200 day moving average price is $130.53. The company has a market cap of $38.38 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.32 and a beta of 0.98.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.08 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.73 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th were issued a $0.37 dividend. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.12%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.79%.

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $130.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $140.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity increased their target price on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $134.21.

In other news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total transaction of $966,270.11. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 75,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

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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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