Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA Reduces Holdings in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL)

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Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA decreased its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 2.0% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 982,757 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 20,011 shares during the period. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA owned about 0.34% of Ecolab worth $153,142,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Integrated Advisors Network LLC purchased a new stake in Ecolab during the 4th quarter worth $370,000. Comgest Global Investors S.A.S. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.7% in the 4th quarter. Comgest Global Investors S.A.S. now owns 674,669 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $130,204,000 after purchasing an additional 23,769 shares during the last quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% in the 4th quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 310,477 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $59,919,000 after purchasing an additional 5,728 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 24.4% in the 4th quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 833,805 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $160,916,000 after purchasing an additional 163,451 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. bought a new stake in shares of Ecolab in the 4th quarter worth about $530,000. 74.24% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several research firms have recently weighed in on ECL. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price on shares of Ecolab from $171.00 to $177.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 29th. Morgan Stanley dropped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $205.00 to $170.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, March 30th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $204.00 price target for the company. in a report on Wednesday, March 4th. Cfra lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $170.00 to $197.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, April 30th. Finally, G.Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 3rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $188.15.

NYSE:ECL traded down $14.98 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $210.93. 87,346 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,092,406. The stock has a market capitalization of $65.33 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 39.73, a P/E/G ratio of 5.12 and a beta of 1.01. Ecolab Inc. has a twelve month low of $124.60 and a twelve month high of $231.36. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $199.85 and a 200 day moving average of $189.17. The company has a current ratio of 1.51, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 28th. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.06 by $0.07. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.32% and a return on equity of 20.12%. The company had revenue of $3.58 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.49 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.03 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.82 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 16th will be paid a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.89%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, June 15th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is 32.30%.

In related news, EVP Timothy P. Mulhere sold 7,388 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $196.35, for a total transaction of $1,450,633.80. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 24,160 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,743,816. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Victoria Reich sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $209.93, for a total transaction of $209,930.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 21,306 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,472,768.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 51,989 shares of company stock valued at $10,658,061. Corporate insiders own 1.22% of the company’s stock.

Ecolab Company Profile

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.

Further Reading: The Discount Rate – What You Need to Know

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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