Ecolab (ECL) Cut to “Underweight” at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded shares of Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) from a neutral rating to an underweight rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on ECL. BMO Capital Markets assumed coverage on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. They issued an outperform rating and a $151.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ecolab from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, April 30th. Credit Suisse Group upped their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $137.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 2nd. Citigroup reaffirmed an outperform rating and issued a $141.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Monday, May 7th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity set a $155.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 24th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $145.44.

ECL opened at $140.33 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 1.15, a quick ratio of 0.77 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83. Ecolab has a fifty-two week low of $125.74 and a fifty-two week high of $150.46. The stock has a market capitalization of $40.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.92, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.06 and a beta of 0.98.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, May 1st. The basic materials company reported $0.91 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.02. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.62% and a return on equity of 19.01%. The company had revenue of $3.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.38 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.80 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 9.8% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Ecolab will post 5.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 19th will be given a dividend of $0.41 per share. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.17%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 34.97%.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.8% during 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 during the period. Clearbridge Investments LLC grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.7% during the 4th quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,745,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $770,976,000 after acquiring an additional 207,345 shares during the period. Edgewood Management LLC grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.8% during the 1st quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 5,506,295 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $754,748,000 after acquiring an additional 199,660 shares during the period. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 30.3% during the 1st quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,813,341 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $385,623,000 after acquiring an additional 653,809 shares during the period. Finally, Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 46.6% during the 1st quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 2,620,682 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $359,217,000 after acquiring an additional 833,015 shares during the period. 75.89% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Ecolab Company Profile

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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