Stocks: Ecolab Inc. (ECL) Stake Cut by Wetherby Asset Management Inc.

Stocks: Ecolab Inc. (ECL) Stake Cut by Wetherby Asset Management Inc.

Wetherby Asset Management Inc. decreased its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.1% during the first quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 5,642 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 62 shares during the period. Wetherby Asset Management Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $707,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. State Street Corp raised its position in Ecolab by 2.9% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,904,666 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,395,464,000 after buying an additional 336,475 shares during the last quarter. Brown Advisory Inc. increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Brown Advisory Inc. now owns 4,382,211 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $513,684,000 after buying an additional 11,282 shares during the period. Edgewood Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.4% in the fourth quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 3,280,417 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $384,530,000 after buying an additional 44,860 shares during the period. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.2% in the third quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 3,159,687 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $384,598,000 after buying an additional 38,461 shares during the period. Finally, CAM Group Holding A S increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 4.0% in the third quarter. CAM Group Holding A S now owns 3,138,655 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $382,038,000 after buying an additional 120,190 shares during the period. 75.09% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) opened at 126.87 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $125.90 and a 200-day moving average of $121.12. Ecolab Inc. has a 12-month low of $110.65 and a 12-month high of $129.85. The firm has a market capitalization of $36.80 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.97 and a beta of 0.90.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.80 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.81 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.08% and a net margin of 8.11%. The firm had revenue of $3.17 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.16 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.77 earnings per share. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.78 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 17th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 20th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.17%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, June 16th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 41.11%.

Several analysts have commented on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada set a $130.00 target price on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, January 21st. Instinet upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their target price for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a report on Monday, April 3rd. Canaccord Genuity restated a “buy” rating and set a $135.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, May 1st. Nomura upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their target price for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a report on Monday, April 3rd. Finally, Edward Jones upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 22nd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $127.86.

In related news, Director Carl M. Casale purchased 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 5th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $126.33 per share, with a total value of $631,650.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 11,495 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,452,163.35. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Jerry W. Levin sold 748 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $124.49, for a total value of $93,118.52. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 32,521 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,048,539.29. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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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