YHB Investment Advisors Inc. reduced its holdings in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 17.5% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 85,845 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 18,260 shares during the quarter. Ecolab accounts for about 2.3% of YHB Investment Advisors Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its 8th biggest position. YHB Investment Advisors Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $12,649,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of ECL. Moody National Bank Trust Division purchased a new position in Ecolab during the fourth quarter worth about $83,000. Ancora Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Ecolab during the third quarter worth about $107,000. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. purchased a new position in Ecolab during the third quarter worth about $110,000. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Ecolab during the second quarter worth about $139,000. Finally, Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware purchased a new position in Ecolab during the third quarter worth about $147,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.90% of the company’s stock.

ECL traded down $0.06 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $149.57. The company had a trading volume of 27,550 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,101,616. The company has a quick ratio of 0.90, a current ratio of 1.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79. The stock has a market cap of $42.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.89, a PEG ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 0.89. Ecolab Inc. has a 12-month low of $125.74 and a 12-month high of $162.91.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.53 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.53. The firm had revenue of $3.75 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.74 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.99% and a return on equity of 19.13%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.37 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.25 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 18th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.23%. This is a boost from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. The ex-dividend date is Monday, December 17th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is presently 39.23%.

Several research analysts recently weighed in on ECL shares. UBS Group boosted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $165.00 to $180.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 2nd. Nomura cut their price target on shares of Ecolab from $153.00 to $150.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Bank of America started coverage on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set a “buy” rating and a $123.00 price target on the stock. Barclays boosted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $150.00 to $165.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. Finally, Citigroup cut shares of Ecolab from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $154.47.

In related news, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 40,025 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $160.20, for a total transaction of $6,412,005.00. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 558,017 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $89,394,323.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Leslie S. Biller sold 2,811 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $160.40, for a total transaction of $450,884.40. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 57,842 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,277,856.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is owned by insiders.

WARNING: This piece of content was first posted by Daily Political and is owned by of Daily Political. If you are reading this piece of content on another site, it was illegally stolen and reposted in violation of U.S. & international copyright & trademark legislation. The legal version of this piece of content can be viewed at https://www.dailypolitical.com/2019/01/11/ecolab-inc-ecl-stake-lessened-by-yhb-investment-advisors-inc.html.

About Ecolab

Ecolab, Inc engages in the provision of products and services in the field of water, hygiene, and energy. It operates through the following segments: Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and process applications for industrial customers; and cleaning and sanitizing solutions for the food and beverage, and textile care industries.

Recommended Story: Conference Calls

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding ECL? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

Receive News & Ratings for Ecolab Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Ecolab and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.