Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) – Research analysts at Jefferies Financial Group raised their Q3 2019 earnings estimates for Ecolab in a report released on Tuesday, April 30th, Zacks Investment Research reports. Jefferies Financial Group analyst L. Alexander now anticipates that the basic materials company will post earnings of $1.84 per share for the quarter, up from their previous forecast of $1.74. Jefferies Financial Group also issued estimates for Ecolab’s Q4 2019 earnings at $1.63 EPS.
ECL has been the topic of several other reports. Robert W. Baird set a $166.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 29th. Bank of America reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 target price (up from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Edward Jones cut shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, April 5th. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $210.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, February 5th. Eleven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ecolab has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $180.93.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.51 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.57 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.06% and a return on equity of 19.50%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.91 earnings per share.
Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Harfst & Associates Inc. lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 3.5% during the 1st quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. now owns 1,638 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $289,000 after buying an additional 55 shares in the last quarter. Cadence Bank NA lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 1.4% during the 1st quarter. Cadence Bank NA now owns 4,110 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $725,000 after buying an additional 57 shares in the last quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 1.6% during the 4th quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC now owns 3,824 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $564,000 after buying an additional 60 shares in the last quarter. Page Arthur B lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 4.1% during the 1st quarter. Page Arthur B now owns 1,510 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $267,000 after buying an additional 60 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cullen Frost Bankers Inc. lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 1.2% during the 1st quarter. Cullen Frost Bankers Inc. now owns 5,021 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $886,000 after buying an additional 60 shares in the last quarter. 76.54% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In related news, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $170.14, for a total transaction of $26,733,247.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 536,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $91,205,248.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Jill S. Wyant sold 29,300 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $179.14, for a total transaction of $5,248,802.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 34,718 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,219,382.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 335,758 shares of company stock valued at $57,738,346 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 1.52% of the company’s stock.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, June 18th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 17th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.01%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 35.05%.
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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