Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Applied Materials reported strong fiscal second-quarter results on the back of strong demand for products, new technologies and innovation strategy. The company is riding on its inflection-focused innovation strategy which continues to be the primary growth driver. Further, technological advancements in semiconductor and display areas remain major positives. Also, robust 3D NAND and patterning equipment remain positives. The company remains confident on the opportunities beyond semiconductors, especially in mobile OLEDS and large screen televisions. However, the company’s high fixed cost structure remains a concern for its margin expansion. Further, a slowing smartphone market, especially in China, and its impact on chip demand remains an overhang. Notably, the shares of Applied Materials have underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.”

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on the company. Needham & Company LLC reissued a buy rating and set a $52.00 price objective on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Sunday, May 19th. Citigroup increased their price objective on Applied Materials from $51.00 to $52.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Friday, May 17th. Wells Fargo & Co increased their price objective on Applied Materials from $45.00 to $52.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Friday, May 17th. UBS Group increased their price objective on Applied Materials from $45.00 to $49.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, May 17th. Finally, Bank of America reissued a neutral rating and set a $52.00 price objective (up previously from $45.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Friday, May 17th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $52.57.

Shares of AMAT opened at $39.50 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $37.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.88, a PEG ratio of 1.54 and a beta of 1.66. The company has a quick ratio of 1.77, a current ratio of 2.79 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65. Applied Materials has a 1 year low of $28.79 and a 1 year high of $53.23.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, May 16th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.66 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $3.54 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.48 billion. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 47.88% and a net margin of 22.10%. Applied Materials’s revenue for the quarter was down 22.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.22 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Applied Materials will post 2.98 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 13th. Investors of record on Thursday, May 23rd will be paid a $0.21 dividend. This is a positive change from Applied Materials’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, May 22nd. This represents a $0.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.13%. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 18.88%.

In other Applied Materials news, SVP Steve G. Ghanayem sold 25,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.70, for a total value of $1,067,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Omkaram Nalamasu sold 143,255 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.73, for a total value of $5,834,776.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 170,255 shares of company stock valued at $6,987,176 in the last ninety days. 0.44% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Inscription Capital LLC bought a new position in Applied Materials in the first quarter worth $25,000. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC raised its holdings in Applied Materials by 190.8% in the first quarter. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC now owns 698 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $27,000 after purchasing an additional 458 shares in the last quarter. Princeton Global Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Applied Materials in the first quarter worth $27,000. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Applied Materials by 73.7% in the first quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 780 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $31,000 after purchasing an additional 331 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Horan Capital Advisors LLC. bought a new position in Applied Materials in the first quarter worth $31,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.39% of the company’s stock.

Applied Materials Company Profile

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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