Bristol John W & Co. Inc. NY lessened its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.6% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 516,279 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 8,215 shares during the period. Ecolab comprises 2.0% of Bristol John W & Co. Inc. NY’s holdings, making the stock its 25th largest position. Bristol John W & Co. Inc. NY owned approximately 0.18% of Ecolab worth $70,766,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A number of other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 1.8% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,001,452 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,193,323,000 after acquiring an additional 288,375 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC lifted its position in Ecolab by 3.7% during the fourth quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,745,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $770,976,000 after acquiring an additional 207,345 shares during the last quarter. Edgewood Management LLC lifted its position in Ecolab by 3.8% during the first quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 5,506,295 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $754,748,000 after acquiring an additional 199,660 shares during the last quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S lifted its position in Ecolab by 1.9% during the fourth quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,842,375 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $515,570,000 after acquiring an additional 73,309 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its position in Ecolab by 1.2% during the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 2,796,556 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $375,243,000 after acquiring an additional 34,370 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 76.24% of the company’s stock.
Shares of Ecolab traded up $0.69, reaching $145.40, during mid-day trading on Thursday, MarketBeat.com reports. 785,539 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,325,684. The firm has a market cap of $41.92 billion, a PE ratio of 31.00, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.98. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83, a quick ratio of 0.77 and a current ratio of 1.15. Ecolab Inc. has a twelve month low of $125.74 and a twelve month high of $150.46.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 19th will be issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, June 18th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.13%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 34.97%.
Several equities research analysts have issued reports on ECL shares. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 17th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $164.00 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, April 25th. Canaccord Genuity set a $155.00 target price on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 24th. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $150.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Thursday, February 22nd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $137.00 target price on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, April 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $144.81.
In related news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 491,499 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 16th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $136.83 per share, for a total transaction of $67,251,808.17. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
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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