APG Asset Management N.V. grew its holdings in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 15.8% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The fund owned 477,737 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after acquiring an additional 65,300 shares during the period. APG Asset Management N.V. owned about 0.17% of Ecolab worth $61,579,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Several other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans grew its holdings in Ecolab by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 11,349 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,672,000 after purchasing an additional 200 shares during the period. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan bought a new position in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter valued at $1,014,000. Royal London Asset Management Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 31.1% in the fourth quarter. Royal London Asset Management Ltd. now owns 245,193 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $35,399,000 after buying an additional 58,182 shares in the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 4,447,561 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $655,348,000 after buying an additional 39,640 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Sontag Advisory LLC bought a new position in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter valued at $64,000. 76.33% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
A number of research firms have weighed in on ECL. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $186.00 price objective (up from $160.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Nomura raised shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $170.00 to $210.00 in a research note on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, December 31st. Robert W. Baird set a $166.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, UBS Group lowered shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their price target for the company from $180.00 to $186.00 in a research report on Thursday. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. Ecolab has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $168.64.
ECL stock traded up $0.24 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $183.20. The company had a trading volume of 1,026,877 shares, compared to its average volume of 944,464. The firm has a market cap of $52.83 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.90, a P/E/G ratio of 2.49 and a beta of 0.89. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.85 and a current ratio of 1.27. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $135.77 and a 12 month high of $186.27.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, February 19th. The basic materials company reported $1.54 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.54. The firm had revenue of $3.76 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.76 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.74% and a return on equity of 19.44%. The company’s revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.38 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 19th were paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, March 18th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.00%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 35.05%.
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Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other segments. The Global Industrial segment offers water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, chemical, primary metals and mining, power generation, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, and commercial laundry.
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