Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Ecolab’s third-quarter 2017 earnings and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The beats came on the back of business gains and better pricing, which more than offset higher delivery product costs. Strength in the Global Institutional segment led by growth in the Specialty and Healthcare business lines is a positive.We believe a robust product portfolio and expanding customer base will drive organic sales over the long haul. Year to date, Ecolab has outperformed the industry. On the flipside, the company expects a significant impact of the hurricanes on fourth-quarter sales and costs. Ecolab operates in highly competitive markets, which might mar its prospects over the long haul. We believe volatility in foreign currency exchange rates will remain a significant headwind for the company. Ecolab faces pricing pressure in the Energy segment which is likely to hurt profits. “

A number of other research analysts have also weighed in on the company. UBS AG boosted their target price on Ecolab from $147.00 to $148.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday. Barclays PLC boosted their target price on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday. Jefferies Group LLC boosted their target price on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday. Finally, Robert W. Baird reissued a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Thursday, October 12th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. Ecolab has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $136.43.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.36 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.55 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The firm’s revenue was up 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.28 EPS.

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In other Ecolab news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total value of $966,270.11. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,842,027 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,766,780,000 after purchasing an additional 387,804 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 2.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,325,707 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,034,488,000 after purchasing an additional 293,303 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 0.3% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,935,943 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,496,059,000 after purchasing an additional 31,277 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 6.8% in the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,012,431 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $628,258,000 after purchasing an additional 320,253 shares in the last quarter. Finally, C WorldWide Group Holding A S grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 8.3% in the second quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,704,233 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $491,737,000 after purchasing an additional 285,258 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.31% of the company’s stock.

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.

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