US Ecology (ECOL) Raised to Strong-Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report released on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $78.00 target price on the business services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “US Ecology, Inc., formerly known as American Ecology Corporation, provides radioactive, PCB, hazardous, and non-hazardous waste services to commercial and government customers throughout the United States. The Company operates through its subsidiaries and provides its services to steel mills, medical and academic institutions, refineries, chemical manufacturing facilities and the nuclear power industry. Its subsidiaries include US Ecology Nevada, Inc., US Ecology Washington, Inc., US Ecology Texas, Inc., US Ecology Idaho, Inc., and US Ecology Field Services, Inc. The Company operates through two business segments: operating disposal facilities and non-operating disposal facilities. US Ecology, Inc. is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. “

Several other analysts have also recently commented on ECOL. BidaskClub cut shares of US Ecology from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 18th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a buy rating and set a $72.00 price target (up from $64.00) on shares of US Ecology in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Stifel Nicolaus increased their price target on shares of US Ecology from $64.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 6th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets increased their price target on shares of US Ecology from $65.00 to $75.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research note on Friday, September 7th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $71.20.



US Ecology stock traded down $0.27 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $67.07. 95,600 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 79,416. The company has a current ratio of 2.45, a quick ratio of 2.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.81. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.53 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.99 and a beta of 0.58. US Ecology has a 12 month low of $44.50 and a 12 month high of $77.15.

US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 2nd. The business services provider reported $0.61 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.54 by $0.07. US Ecology had a net margin of 11.74% and a return on equity of 14.12%. The business had revenue of $136.90 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $136.73 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.38 earnings per share. US Ecology’s revenue was up 8.6% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts predict that US Ecology will post 2.24 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 26th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 18th. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.07%. US Ecology’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 41.86%.

In other news, Director Joe F. Colvin sold 9,400 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.02, for a total transaction of $658,188.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 7,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $490,140. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Steven D. Welling sold 9,557 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.42, for a total transaction of $692,117.94. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 31,928 shares in the company, valued at $2,312,225.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 57,944 shares of company stock worth $4,128,574 over the last three months. 1.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in ECOL. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its holdings in US Ecology by 0.7% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 854,305 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $45,534,000 after buying an additional 6,323 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. lifted its holdings in US Ecology by 2.6% in the first quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 167,667 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $8,937,000 after buying an additional 4,171 shares during the period. UBS Group AG lifted its holdings in US Ecology by 76.2% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 10,133 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $540,000 after buying an additional 4,381 shares during the period. A.R.T. Advisors LLC acquired a new position in US Ecology in the first quarter valued at approximately $489,000. Finally, Barclays PLC lifted its holdings in US Ecology by 131.1% in the first quarter. Barclays PLC now owns 8,140 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $434,000 after buying an additional 4,617 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 83.49% of the company’s stock.

About US Ecology

US Ecology, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides environmental services to commercial and government entities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It operates in two segments, Environmental Services; and Field & Industrial Services. The Environmental Services segment offers hazardous material management services, including transportation, recycling, treatment, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste at its landfill, wastewater, and other treatment facilities.

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