Traders Purchase High Volume of Put Options on Ecolab (ECL)

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 1,761 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 808% compared to the average daily volume of 194 put options.

Several research analysts have commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $155.00 price target for the company in a report on Monday, January 29th. Credit Suisse Group raised their price target on shares of Ecolab from $129.00 to $137.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Stifel Nicolaus raised their price target on shares of Ecolab from $140.00 to $153.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Robert W. Baird cut their price target on shares of Ecolab from $144.00 to $143.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, January 23rd. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, January 22nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $140.07.

Shares of Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) opened at $128.52 on Friday. Ecolab has a fifty-two week low of $120.46 and a fifty-two week high of $140.50. The company has a current ratio of 1.23, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89. The stock has a market cap of $37,350.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.95, a PEG ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 1.06.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, December 19th were issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. This is an increase from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.28%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 18th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 33.33%.

In related news, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 347 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $134.77, for a total value of $46,765.19. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,615 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,026,273.55. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Larry L. Berger sold 5,197 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $137.37, for a total transaction of $713,911.89. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 33,110 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,548,320.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 57,446 shares of company stock valued at $7,886,307 over the last quarter. 1.49% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ECL. GSA Capital Partners LLP bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 2nd quarter worth $356,000. QS Investors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 8.1% during the 2nd quarter. QS Investors LLC now owns 10,537 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,399,000 after acquiring an additional 793 shares during the last quarter. Shelton Capital Management bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 2nd quarter worth $310,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 23.8% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 182,312 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $24,201,000 after acquiring an additional 35,028 shares during the last quarter. Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company lifted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 421,072 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $55,897,000 after acquiring an additional 19,712 shares during the last quarter. 76.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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