Bernicke Wealth Management Ltd. Cuts Position in Ecolab Inc. (ECL)

Bernicke Wealth Management Ltd. lowered its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 20.3% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 5,946 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 1,511 shares during the period. Ecolab makes up about 0.6% of Bernicke Wealth Management Ltd.’s portfolio, making the stock its 20th largest position. Bernicke Wealth Management Ltd.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $745,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Federated Investors Inc. PA boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 14.8% in the fourth quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 7,898 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $926,000 after buying an additional 1,019 shares during the last quarter. Tudor Investment Corp Et Al purchased a new position in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at $374,000. AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 34.3% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 65,410 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $7,667,000 after buying an additional 16,689 shares during the last quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 26.2% in the fourth quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,262 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $158,000 after buying an additional 262 shares during the last quarter. Finally, HighPoint Advisor Group LLC boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC now owns 7,910 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $996,000 after buying an additional 142 shares during the last quarter. 76.12% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at 132.62 on Monday. The stock has a market capitalization of $38.47 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.33 and a beta of 0.98. Ecolab Inc. has a 52 week low of $110.65 and a 52 week high of $134.89. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $131.33 and its 200-day moving average is $125.10.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.80 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.17 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.16 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.47% and a return on equity of 18.96%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.77 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.78 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 17th. Investors of record on Tuesday, June 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, June 16th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.12%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 34.91%.

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ECL has been the topic of several recent research reports. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, March 15th. Instinet raised shares of Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $99.00 to $118.00 in a research report on Monday, April 3rd. Nomura raised shares of Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $99.00 to $118.00 in a research report on Monday, April 3rd. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research report on Friday, May 26th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $141.00 price target (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $129.79.

In related news, Director Carl M. Casale bought 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 5th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $126.33 per share, for a total transaction of $631,650.00. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 11,495 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,452,163.35. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Christophe Beck sold 6,959 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $127.11, for a total value of $884,558.49. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 42,419 shares in the company, valued at $5,391,879.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 44,810 shares of company stock worth $5,897,361. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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