Bridges Investment Counsel Inc. reduced its holdings in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 73.0% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 4,450 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 12,050 shares during the period. Bridges Investment Counsel Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $572,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in the company. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab by 4.8% during the 2nd quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 763 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 35 shares during the period. Atlantic Trust LLC purchased a new stake in Ecolab during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $106,000. JNBA Financial Advisors increased its stake in Ecolab by 2.5% during the 1st quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 21 shares during the period. IHT Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in Ecolab by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 811 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 38 shares during the period. Finally, Harfst & Associates Inc. purchased a new stake in Ecolab during the 1st quarter worth approximately $117,000. 75.39% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE ECL) traded down 0.63% on Wednesday, hitting $131.75. 312,965 shares of the stock traded hands. 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 is $131.22 and its 200 day moving average is $130.40. The firm has a market cap of $38.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.12 and a beta of 0.98.

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

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

In related news, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 75,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was acquired at an average price of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total transaction of $966,270.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG upped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Canaccord Genuity boosted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $134.21.

Ecolab Profile

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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