Macquarie Group Ltd. lowered its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.0% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 114,940 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 1,160 shares during the quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $16,130,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Braun Bostich & Associates Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 487.7% during the 2nd quarter. Braun Bostich & Associates Inc. now owns 858 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $120,000 after purchasing an additional 712 shares during the last quarter. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC bought a new position in shares of Ecolab during the 2nd quarter valued at $126,000. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Ecolab during the 2nd quarter valued at $139,000. LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC bought a new position in shares of Ecolab during the 2nd quarter valued at $154,000. Finally, Summit Trail Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 14,388.0% during the 1st quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC now owns 162,411 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $162,000 after purchasing an additional 161,290 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 76.26% of the company’s stock.

NYSE ECL traded up $0.03 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $145.98. 1,430,042 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,189,445. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $125.74 and a 52-week high of $159.92. The stock has a market cap of $45.29 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.13, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 0.95. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80, a current ratio of 1.27 and a quick ratio of 0.84.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.27 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.27. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.83% and a return on equity of 18.96%. The company had revenue of $3.69 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.69 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.13 EPS. Ecolab’s revenue was up 6.6% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 18th will be given a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 17th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.12%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 34.97%.

Several research firms recently commented on ECL. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday. Nomura reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $146.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, August 1st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating in a report on Thursday, June 28th. Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, July 31st. Finally, Oppenheimer raised their price target on shares of Ecolab from $153.00 to $156.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 7th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $151.87.

In related news, EVP Roberto Inchaustegui sold 10,600 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $145.71, for a total transaction of $1,544,526.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 33,202 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,837,863.42. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 32,468 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $155.80, for a total transaction of $5,058,514.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 114,885 shares of company stock valued at $17,369,786. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

About Ecolab

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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