Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Applied Materials’ high fixed cost structure remains a concern for its margin expansion. Further, the company’s concentrated customer base poses a major risk to its business. Management expects the industry spending on manufacturing equipment to be lower in 2019, which is a matter of concern. Notably, the shares of Applied Materials have underperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis. However, the company’s inflection-focused innovation strategy continues to be the primary growth driver. Further, technological advancements in semiconductor and display areas remain major positives. Additionally, robust 3D NAND, DRAM and patterning equipments are supporting the company in gaining momentum in the market. Nevertheless, intensifying market competition remains a headwind.”

AMAT has been the topic of a number of other reports. KeyCorp reissued an overweight rating and set a $56.00 target price (down from $71.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Friday, November 16th. Deutsche Bank reduced their target price on shares of Applied Materials from $43.00 to $37.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 16th. BidaskClub raised shares of Applied Materials from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, November 16th. ValuEngine raised shares of Applied Materials from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, January 2nd. Finally, Needham & Company LLC reissued a buy rating on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Sunday, January 6th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $50.96.

Shares of Applied Materials stock opened at $40.85 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $37.91 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.18, a P/E/G ratio of 1.37 and a beta of 1.69. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 1.73 and a current ratio of 2.64. Applied Materials has a 1 year low of $28.79 and a 1 year high of $62.40.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, November 15th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.97 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.97. Applied Materials had a net margin of 19.20% and a return on equity of 62.56%. The firm had revenue of $4.01 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4 billion. Equities research analysts forecast that Applied Materials will post 3.37 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 21st will be given a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 20th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.96%. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 17.98%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of AMAT. Capital World Investors lifted its position in shares of Applied Materials by 154.9% in the 3rd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 18,320,095 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $708,072,000 after purchasing an additional 11,133,180 shares during the period. Capital International Investors acquired a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $338,188,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its position in shares of Applied Materials by 3,039.6% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 8,203,498 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $251,000 after purchasing an additional 7,942,210 shares during the period. FMR LLC lifted its position in shares of Applied Materials by 85.2% in the 3rd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 14,705,625 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $568,373,000 after purchasing an additional 6,766,709 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its position in shares of Applied Materials by 47.3% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 20,336,220 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $785,997,000 after purchasing an additional 6,531,516 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 79.35% of the company’s stock.

About Applied Materials

Applied Materials, Inc provides manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, display, and related industries. It operates through three segments: Semiconductor Systems, Applied Global Services, and Display and Adjacent Markets. The Semiconductor Systems segment develops, manufactures, and sells various manufacturing equipment that is used to fabricate semiconductor chips or integrated circuits.

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Analyst Recommendations for Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT)

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