Zacks Investment Research Downgrades US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) to Strong Sell

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note published on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

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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 brokerages also recently weighed in on ECOL. ValuEngine raised shares of US Ecology from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. UBS Group set a $63.00 price objective on shares of US Ecology and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Friday, November 1st. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded shares of US Ecology from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, November 5th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $67.33.

Shares of US Ecology stock traded up $0.04 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $60.95. 68,400 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 115,709. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.95, a current ratio of 2.03 and a quick ratio of 2.08. The stock has a market cap of $1.35 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.27 and a beta of 0.53. US Ecology has a 12-month low of $54.24 and a 12-month high of $72.85. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $63.36 and its 200 day moving average price is $61.18.

US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The business services provider reported $0.75 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $167.40 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $161.25 million. US Ecology had a net margin of 8.22% and a return on equity of 13.61%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 10.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.61 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts forecast that US Ecology will post 2.2 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 25th. Investors of record on Friday, October 18th were issued a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.18%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, October 17th. US Ecology’s dividend payout ratio is currently 31.03%.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. First Mercantile Trust Co. boosted its holdings in US Ecology by 11.6% during the third quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 1,685 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 175 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its holdings in US Ecology by 2.3% during the second quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 8,736 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $520,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. US Bancorp DE boosted its holdings in US Ecology by 20.0% during the second quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 1,238 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $73,000 after buying an additional 206 shares in the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System boosted its holdings in US Ecology by 0.6% during the second quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 34,265 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,040,000 after buying an additional 219 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its holdings in US Ecology by 27.4% during the third quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 1,476 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $94,000 after buying an additional 317 shares in the last quarter. 85.91% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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 through 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, non-hazardous, and radioactive waste at its landfill, wastewater, deep-well injection, and other treatment facilities.

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