Brokerages expect Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) to post sales of $3.39 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Seven analysts have issued estimates for Ecolab’s earnings. The lowest sales estimate is $3.38 billion and the highest is $3.41 billion. Ecolab posted sales of $3.32 billion in the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 2.1%. The company is scheduled to issue its next earnings report on Tuesday, August 1st.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Ecolab will report full-year sales of $3.39 billion for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $13.53 billion to $13.74 billion. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the firm will post sales of $14.18 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $13.97 billion to $14.39 billion. Zacks Investment Research’s sales calculations are an average based on a survey of analysts that cover Ecolab.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.80 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.17 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.16 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 8.11% and a return on equity of 19.08%. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.77 EPS.

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $138.00 target price for the company in a research report on Friday. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Monday, May 1st. Instinet raised Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a research report on Monday, April 3rd. Nomura raised Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a research report on Monday, April 3rd. Finally, Edward Jones upgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 22nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $128.53.

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Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) traded up 0.84% during trading on Friday, reaching $131.40. 647,741 shares of the company traded hands. Ecolab has a 52 week low of $110.65 and a 52 week high of $131.49. The firm has a market capitalization of $38.11 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.04 and a beta of 0.90. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $126.79 and its 200 day moving average price is $122.17.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 17th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, June 20th will be paid a $0.37 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, June 16th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.14%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 41.11%.

In other Ecolab news, EVP Christophe Beck sold 6,959 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $127.11, for a total value of $884,558.49. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 42,419 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,391,879.09. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Carl M. Casale purchased 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 5th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $126.33 per share, with a total value of $631,650.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 11,495 shares in the company, valued at $1,452,163.35. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ECL. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Ecolab by 2,154.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,032,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,884,161,000 after buying an additional 14,365,723 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $348,129,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 5.4% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,454,223 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,563,731,000 after buying an additional 1,044,370 shares during the period. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $102,066,000. Finally, Russell Investments Group Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $81,124,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.09% of the company’s stock.

Ecolab Company Profile

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.

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