Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) has earned a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the eighteen ratings firms that are currently covering the company, Marketbeat Ratings reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average 1 year price target among brokerages that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $137.54.

Several analysts recently weighed in on the company. Robert W. Baird reissued a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Jefferies Group lifted their price target on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Morgan Stanley assumed coverage on Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, August 15th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $140.00 price objective for the company. Barclays lifted their price objective on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $145.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, September 11th.

Shares of Ecolab (ECL) opened at $135.92 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $39,702.60, a P/E ratio of 30.20, a P/E/G ratio of 2.29 and a beta of 1.05. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a current ratio of 1.23. Ecolab has a fifty-two week low of $116.92 and a fifty-two week high of $137.96.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.55 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.28 EPS. analysts predict that Ecolab will post 4.7 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 19th will be issued a $0.41 dividend. This is a boost from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.21%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 33.26%.

In other news, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 18,000 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $137.09, for a total value of $2,467,620.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 427,548 shares in the company, valued at approximately $58,612,555.32. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CFO Daniel J. Schmechel sold 1,708 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $136.30, for a total value of $232,800.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 63,593 shares of company stock valued at $8,682,940 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ECL. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC bought a new stake in Ecolab during the 3rd quarter worth $485,000. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio grew its position in Ecolab by 1.4% during the 3rd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 176,341 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $22,679,000 after acquiring an additional 2,491 shares during the last quarter. Smith Shellnut Wilson LLC ADV grew its position in Ecolab by 61.1% during the 3rd quarter. Smith Shellnut Wilson LLC ADV now owns 3,585 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $461,000 after acquiring an additional 1,360 shares during the last quarter. Belpointe Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in Ecolab during the 3rd quarter worth $825,000. Finally, IFM Investors Pty Ltd bought a new stake in Ecolab during the 3rd quarter worth $941,000. Institutional investors own 76.98% of the company’s stock.

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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.

Analyst Recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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