Sigma Planning Corp acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) in the 2nd quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor acquired 1,836 shares of the basic materials company’s stock, valued at approximately $363,000.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the business. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 2.0% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 713,114 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $105,066,000 after purchasing an additional 13,857 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 10.1% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 3,070,398 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $451,565,000 after purchasing an additional 281,532 shares during the period. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 67.5% in the 1st quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. now owns 511 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $90,000 after purchasing an additional 206 shares during the period. Pennsylvania Trust Co increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 1.4% in the 1st quarter. Pennsylvania Trust Co now owns 31,502 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,561,000 after purchasing an additional 435 shares during the period. Finally, Eqis Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the 1st quarter valued at about $221,000. 75.59% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

ECL has been the topic of a number of research reports. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on Ecolab from $180.00 to $208.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, August 5th. Citigroup upped their target price on Ecolab from $190.00 to $206.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, August 2nd. Morgan Stanley upped their target price on Ecolab from $140.00 to $205.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Monday, August 12th. Bank of America reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $200.00 target price (up previously from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. Finally, Canaccord Genuity upped their target price on Ecolab from $198.00 to $222.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 31st. Twelve investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $192.00.

Shares of NYSE ECL traded up $1.31 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $207.91. The stock had a trading volume of 5,103 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,065,197. The company has a market capitalization of $59.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 39.62, a P/E/G ratio of 2.80 and a beta of 0.84. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $200.51 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $184.51. Ecolab Inc. has a 52 week low of $135.77 and a 52 week high of $209.87. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a current ratio of 1.18.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.42 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.41 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.79 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.81% and a net margin of 10.12%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 1.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.27 EPS. As a group, analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 17th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 16th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.88%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 35.05%.

In other Ecolab news, EVP Laurie M. Marsh sold 6,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $182.04, for a total transaction of $1,146,852.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 17,583 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,200,809.32. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Alex N. Blanco sold 51,400 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $203.07, for a total value of $10,437,798.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 59,425 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $12,067,434.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 94,055 shares of company stock valued at $18,660,054. 1.52% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Ecolab Profile

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other segments. The Global Industrial segment offers water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, chemical, primary metals and mining, power generation, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, and commercial laundry.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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