First Financial Bank Trust Division lowered its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 2.2% in the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 40,541 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 906 shares during the period. First Financial Bank Trust Division’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $8,679,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. United Bank raised its position in Ecolab by 12.2% in the third quarter. United Bank now owns 3,089 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $617,000 after purchasing an additional 337 shares during the period. ExodusPoint Capital Management LP raised its holdings in Ecolab by 136.8% in the 3rd quarter. ExodusPoint Capital Management LP now owns 9,493 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,897,000 after buying an additional 5,484 shares during the period. Advisory Alpha LLC acquired a new position in Ecolab in the third quarter valued at about $30,000. Lombard Odier Asset Management Switzerland SA purchased a new position in Ecolab during the third quarter worth about $962,000. Finally, Lombard Odier Asset Management Europe Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the third quarter valued at about $464,000. 73.58% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
A number of equities analysts recently weighed in on ECL shares. Argus increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $215.00 to $250.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 7th. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft upgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $225.00 to $250.00 in a research report on Monday, March 29th. Credit Suisse Group assumed coverage on Ecolab in a report on Monday, March 29th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $210.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research cut Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $221.00 target price for the company. in a report on Wednesday, February 17th. Finally, Gabelli upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, January 15th. Ten equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $212.62.
Shares of ECL traded down $0.28 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $214.38. The stock had a trading volume of 2,249 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,000,515. The company has a market cap of $61.33 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of -58.17, a PEG ratio of 3.91 and a beta of 1.01. The company’s fifty day simple moving average is $211.65 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $210.46. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $158.42 and a 1-year high of $231.36. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.10, a current ratio of 1.61 and a quick ratio of 1.19.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 16th. The basic materials company reported $1.23 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.25 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $3.07 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.10 billion. Ecolab had a negative net margin of 8.21% and a positive return on equity of 18.14%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.66 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.03 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, April 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 15th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.90%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.99%.
Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and infection prevention solutions and services worldwide. Its Global Industrial segment offers water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions to manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, chemical, metals and mining, power generation, pulp and paper, commercial laundry, petroleum, and petrochemical industries.
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