Ecolab Inc. (ECL) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Thursday, November 2nd.

According to Zacks, “Ecolab’s third-quarter 2017 earnings and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The beats came on the back of business gains and better pricing, which more than offset higher delivery product costs. Strength in the Global Institutional segment led by growth in the Specialty and Healthcare business lines is a positive.We believe a robust product portfolio and expanding customer base will drive organic sales over the long haul. Year to date, Ecolab has outperformed the industry. On the flipside, the company expects a significant impact of the hurricanes on fourth-quarter sales and costs. Ecolab operates in highly competitive markets, which might mar its prospects over the long haul. We believe volatility in foreign currency exchange rates will remain a significant headwind for the company. Ecolab faces pricing pressure in the Energy segment which is likely to hurt profits. “

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on ECL. Royal Bank Of Canada upped their price target on Ecolab from $134.00 to $137.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 12th. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. Morgan Stanley began coverage on Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, August 15th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $140.00 price objective on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG upped their price objective on Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Finally, Instinet reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $117.00 price objective (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $136.86.

Ecolab (ECL) opened at $132.45 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 1.23 and a quick ratio of 0.83. Ecolab has a 12-month low of $114.89 and a 12-month high of $134.89. The stock has a market capitalization of $38,174.25, a P/E ratio of 29.04, a P/E/G ratio of 2.20 and a beta of 1.04.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.55 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.28 EPS. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Ecolab will post 4.7 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Director David Maclennan bought 450 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 6th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $131.77 per share, with a total value of $59,296.50. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 1,514 shares in the company, valued at approximately $199,499.78. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total value of $966,270.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Ecolab by 4.8% in the second quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 763 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 35 shares in the last quarter. Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new stake in Ecolab in the second quarter valued at about $106,000. IHT Wealth Management LLC boosted its stake in Ecolab by 4.9% in the second quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 811 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 38 shares in the last quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. acquired a new stake in Ecolab in the first quarter valued at about $117,000. Finally, Atwood & Palmer Inc. boosted its stake in Ecolab by 2.9% in the second quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. now owns 892 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $118,000 after buying an additional 25 shares in the last quarter. 75.74% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Ecolab

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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