Simmons Bank increased its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 2.3% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 4,305 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after acquiring an additional 96 shares during the period. Simmons Bank’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $760,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 2.6% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 17,078,831 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,015,097,000 after acquiring an additional 437,110 shares during the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE raised its position in Ecolab by 0.9% during the 4th quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 4,447,561 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $655,348,000 after purchasing an additional 39,640 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its position in Ecolab by 7.9% during the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,151,160 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $611,674,000 after purchasing an additional 304,832 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its position in Ecolab by 14,455.4% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,084,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $28,000 after purchasing an additional 4,056,773 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp raised its position in Ecolab by 4.4% during the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 3,177,693 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $468,233,000 after purchasing an additional 135,035 shares during the last quarter. 75.22% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
ECL stock opened at $197.44 on Friday. Ecolab Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $135.77 and a fifty-two week high of $200.93. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $188.12. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a current ratio of 1.14 and a quick ratio of 0.75. The stock has a market cap of $55.40 billion, a P/E ratio of 37.61, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.61 and a beta of 0.83.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, June 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. 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 0.93%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 35.05%.
A number of research analysts have commented on the company. Nomura lowered their price target on Ecolab from $210.00 to $208.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on Ecolab from $169.00 to $180.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. UBS Group lowered Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and upped their price target for the company from $180.00 to $186.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 18th. Finally, Bank of America reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 price target (up previously from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. Eleven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $180.93.
In other Ecolab news, Director Victoria Reich sold 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $199.25, for a total transaction of $298,875.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 20,987 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,181,659.75. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Jill S. Wyant sold 29,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $179.14, for a total value of $5,248,802.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 34,718 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,219,382.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 76,519 shares of company stock worth $14,253,673 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 1.52% of the company’s stock.
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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