Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL – Get Rating) has been awarded a consensus recommendation of “Hold” by the nineteen rating agencies that currently cover the company, MarketBeat reports. Nine equity research analysts rated the stock with a hold recommendation and eight gave the company a buy recommendation. The 1-year average price target among brokers who have rated the stock in the past year is $173.13.

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A number of research analysts have recently commented on ECL’s actions. Credit Suisse Group lowered its price target on Ecolab from $175.00 to $170.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a Monday, Nov. 7 research note. BMO Capital Markets cut its target price on Ecolab from $169.00 to $143.00 and set a “market performance” rating for the company in a Thursday, Nov. 3 research note. Seaport Res Ptn upgraded Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a Thursday, October 13 research report. Barclays downgraded Ecolab from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and lowered its price target for the company from $170.00 to $160.00 in a Friday, Dec. 2 report. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its price target on Ecolab from $175.00 to $180.00 in a Friday, Dec. 9 research report.

Ecolab Price Performance

NYSE ECL shares opened at $152.40 on Thursday. The company has a debt ratio of 1.13, a current ratio of 1.35 and a quick ratio of 0.87. The stock has a fifty-day moving average price of $148.79 and a 200-day moving average price of $154.03. Ecolab has a 1-year low of $131.04 and a 1-year high of $193.42. The company has a market capitalization of $43.41 billion, a PE ratio of 38.78, a P/E/G ratio of 2.40 and a beta of 0.98.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL – Get Rating) last released quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, November 1. The basic materials company reported EPS of $1.30 for the quarter, missing analyst consensus estimates of $1.33 per ($0.03). The company posted revenue of $3.67 billion for the quarter, versus $3.68 billion expected by analysts. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.10% and a net margin of 8.13%. Sell-side analysts expect Ecolab to post EPS of 4.47 for the current year.

Ecolab increases its dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 17. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 20 received a dividend of $0.53 per share. This is a positive change from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.51. The ex-dividend date was Monday, December 19. This represents a dividend of $2.12 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.39%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 53.94%.

Insider Trading at Ecolab

Separately, director David Maclennan acquired 800 shares of the company in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 8. The shares were purchased at an average price of $139.66 per share, with a total value of $111,728.00. As a result of the transaction, the administrator now directly owns 12,597 shares of the company, valued at $1,759,297.02. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, accessible via this hyperlink. Insiders of the company own 1.04% of the shares of the company.

Institutional investors weigh in on Ecolab

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently increased or reduced their stakes in the stock. CX Institutional acquired a new position in Ecolab stock during Q2 worth approximately $31,000. Core Alternative Capital increased its stake in Ecolab shares by 119.2% during the second quarter. Core Alternative Capital now owns 228 shares of the core materials company worth $35,000 after buying an additional 124 shares during the period. Ronald Blue Trust Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab by 135.6% in the fourth quarter. Ronald Blue Trust Inc. now owns 245 shares of the basic materials company valued at $36,000 after buying 141 additional shares in the last quarter. Almanac Investment Partners LLC. bought a new position in Ecolab in the third quarter worth about $36,000. Finally, Eagle Bay Advisors LLC increased its holdings of Ecolab shares by 1,406.3% in the second quarter. Eagle Bay Advisors LLC now owns 241 shares of the basic materials company valued at $37,000 after acquiring an additional 225 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 86.76% of the company’s shares.

Ecolab Company Profile

(Get a rating)

Ecolab Inc provides water, sanitation, and infection control solutions and services in the United States and around the world. The Company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional & Specialty and Global Healthcare & Life Sciences segments. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and treatment applications, as well as cleaning and sanitation solutions to the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, chemical, metals and mining, power generation, pulp and paper, commercial laundry, petroleum, refining and petrochemicals.

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Analyst recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE: ECL)

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