Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 3.3% in the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 4,734 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after acquiring an additional 150 shares during the quarter. Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $697,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 4th quarter worth $42,000. Moody National Bank Trust Division bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 4th quarter worth $83,000. Ancora Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 3rd quarter worth $107,000. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 3rd quarter worth $110,000. Finally, Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 3rd quarter worth $147,000. 75.89% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
In other Ecolab news, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 40,025 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $160.20, for a total transaction of $6,412,005.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 558,017 shares in the company, valued at $89,394,323.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, Director Leslie S. Biller sold 2,811 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $160.40, for a total value of $450,884.40. Following the transaction, the director now owns 57,842 shares in the company, valued at $9,277,856.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.53. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.13% and a net margin of 10.99%. The business had revenue of $3.75 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.74 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.37 earnings per share. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.25 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 18th were issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.23%. This is a positive change from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. The ex-dividend date was Monday, December 17th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 39.23%.
ECL has been the subject of several research reports. UBS Group raised their price objective on Ecolab from $165.00 to $180.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Nomura decreased their target price on Ecolab from $153.00 to $150.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 16th. Bank of America began coverage on Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $123.00 target price for the company. Barclays raised their target price on Ecolab from $150.00 to $165.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 24th. Finally, Citigroup cut Ecolab from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $154.47.
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Ecolab, Inc engages in the provision of products and services in the field of water, hygiene, and energy. It operates through the following segments: Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and process applications for industrial customers; and cleaning and sanitizing solutions for the food and beverage, and textile care industries.
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