Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) – Equities researchers at Jefferies Group reduced their Q3 2017 EPS estimates for shares of Ecolab in a research note issued on Wednesday. Jefferies Group analyst L. Alexander now forecasts that the basic materials company will earn $1.36 per share for the quarter, down from their prior forecast of $1.40. Jefferies Group has a “Hold” rating and a $130.00 price target on the stock.

A number of other research analysts have also recently issued reports on ECL. Zacks Investment Research cut Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $141.00 price target (up from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Canaccord Genuity lifted their price target on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co raised Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $120.00 to $138.00 in a report on Friday, May 26th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $133.57.

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Ecolab (NYSE ECL) opened at 131.53 on Friday. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $131.66 and its 200 day moving average is $129.14. Ecolab has a 1-year low of $110.65 and a 1-year high of $134.89. The firm has a market cap of $38.06 billion, a PE ratio of 30.07 and a beta of 0.99.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.08 EPS.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in Ecolab by 1.9% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,842,027 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,766,780,000 after purchasing an additional 387,804 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Ecolab by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,325,707 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,034,488,000 after purchasing an additional 293,303 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its holdings in Ecolab by 0.3% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,935,943 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,496,059,000 after purchasing an additional 31,277 shares during the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its holdings in Ecolab by 6.8% during the 1st quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,012,431 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $628,258,000 after purchasing an additional 320,253 shares during the last quarter. Finally, C WorldWide Group Holding A S raised its holdings in Ecolab by 8.3% during the 2nd quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,704,233 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $491,737,000 after purchasing an additional 285,258 shares during the last quarter. 75.53% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 75,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be issued a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.13%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.79%.

About Ecolab

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.

Earnings History and Estimates for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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