Citigroup Lowers Ecolab (ECL) to Market Perform

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) was downgraded by investment analysts at Citigroup from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday, The Fly reports. The analysts noted that the move was a valuation call.

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $176.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 10th. UBS Group boosted their target price on shares of Ecolab from $165.00 to $180.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, September 7th. Boenning Scattergood restated a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, July 31st. Finally, Canaccord Genuity set a $160.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 24th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $154.47.

Shares of NYSE:ECL opened at $156.06 on Wednesday. Ecolab has a 52 week low of $125.74 and a 52 week high of $160.66. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79, a quick ratio of 0.90 and a current ratio of 1.34. The firm has a market capitalization of $46.31 billion, a PE ratio of 33.28, a PEG ratio of 2.38 and a beta of 0.87.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.53 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.53. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.99% and a return on equity of 19.13%. The company had revenue of $3.75 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.74 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.37 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that Ecolab will post 5.27 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director Arthur J. Higgins sold 8,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.76, for a total transaction of $1,302,912.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 21,363 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,199,322.88. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Darrell R. Brown sold 11,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $150.25, for a total transaction of $1,772,950.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 18,641 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,800,810.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 112,110 shares of company stock worth $17,473,320. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Bailard Inc. raised its holdings in Ecolab by 5.6% during the 3rd quarter. Bailard Inc. now owns 6,371 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $999,000 after purchasing an additional 338 shares during the last quarter. Argus Investors Counsel Inc. raised its holdings in Ecolab by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Argus Investors Counsel Inc. now owns 2,172 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $341,000 after purchasing an additional 343 shares during the last quarter. Gyroscope Capital Management Group LLC raised its holdings in Ecolab by 19.5% during the 3rd quarter. Gyroscope Capital Management Group LLC now owns 2,191 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $345,000 after purchasing an additional 358 shares during the last quarter. Motley Fool Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in Ecolab by 13.6% during the 2nd quarter. Motley Fool Asset Management LLC now owns 3,047 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $428,000 after purchasing an additional 364 shares during the last quarter. Finally, North Star Asset Management Inc. raised its holdings in Ecolab by 0.5% during the 3rd quarter. North Star Asset Management Inc. now owns 72,310 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $11,337,000 after purchasing an additional 364 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.35% of the company’s stock.

Ecolab Company Profile

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services for customers worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, and Global Energy segments. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to large industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, chemical, mining and primary metals, power generation, pulp and paper, and commercial laundry industries.

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Analyst Recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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