Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) – Research analysts at Jefferies Group issued their Q4 2018 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Ecolab in a report released on Tuesday. Jefferies Group analyst L. Alexander forecasts that the basic materials company will post earnings per share of $1.85 for the quarter. Jefferies Group currently has a “Hold” rating and a $140.00 target price on the stock.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The firm had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.55 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.28 EPS. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year.

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the company. Barclays reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $150.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, December 27th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Royal Bank of Canada boosted their price objective on Ecolab from $137.00 to $143.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 7th. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Citigroup lowered Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, January 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $139.00.

Shares of Ecolab (ECL) traded down $0.17 during trading on Thursday, hitting $138.15. The company had a trading volume of 1,189,163 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,064,962. The company has a current ratio of 1.23, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89. Ecolab has a 1 year low of $119.09 and a 1 year high of $140.50. The stock has a market cap of $39,962.63, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.05, a PEG ratio of 2.02 and a beta of 1.05.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, December 19th were given a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 18th. This is a positive change from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.19%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is 33.26%.

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 value of $2,654,522.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 43,262 shares in the company, valued at $5,950,255.48. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 11,644 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $137.50, for a total value of $1,601,050.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 109,542 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $15,062,025. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 57,446 shares of company stock valued at $7,886,307 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Green Square Capital LLC lifted its holdings in 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 acquiring an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 4.9% in the second quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 811 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $116,000 after acquiring an additional 38 shares during the last quarter. Aldebaran Financial Inc. lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 0.9% in the second quarter. Aldebaran Financial Inc. now owns 11,471 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,523,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Kingfisher Capital LLC lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 1.0% in the second quarter. Kingfisher Capital LLC now owns 11,867 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,575,000 after acquiring an additional 122 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 0.9% in the second quarter. Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp now owns 16,319 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,166,000 after acquiring an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.60% 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.

Earnings History and Estimates for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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