Webster Bank N. A. reduced its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 3.0% during the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 28,568 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 886 shares during the period. Webster Bank N. A.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $3,834,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other large investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Co. purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab in the third quarter worth about $257,000. TT International lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 52.2% in the third quarter. TT International now owns 73,369 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $9,435,000 after buying an additional 25,169 shares in the last quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab in the third quarter worth about $412,000. Pensionfund DSM Netherlands purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter worth about $3,489,000. Finally, Markel Corp lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 4.6% in the third quarter. Markel Corp now owns 228,800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $29,426,000 after buying an additional 10,000 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 76.60% of the company’s stock.

Several brokerages have weighed in on ECL. Boenning Scattergood reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Monday. Barclays boosted their price objective on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. UBS Group boosted their price objective on Ecolab from $147.00 to $148.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Jefferies Group boosted their price objective on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $137.21.

In other news, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 19,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $137.54, for a total transaction of $2,654,522.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 43,262 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,950,255.48. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 1,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $135.71, for a total value of $169,637.50. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,725 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,048,359.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 57,446 shares of company stock worth $7,886,307. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) traded up $0.59 on Tuesday, hitting $140.34. The stock had a trading volume of 1,543,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,068,871. The company has a market capitalization of $39,580.00, a PE ratio of 31.61, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.06 and a beta of 1.05. Ecolab Inc. has a 1 year low of $118.10 and a 1 year high of $140.43. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a current ratio of 1.23.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.36 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $3.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.55 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.28 earnings per share. sell-side analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.7 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, December 19th were paid a dividend of $0.41 per share. This is a boost from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. The ex-dividend date was Monday, December 18th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.17%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.33%.

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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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