Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. The firm presently has a $45.00 price target on the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 9.78% from the stock’s previous close.

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.”

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on AMAT. Royal Bank of Canada raised shares of Applied Materials from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $38.00 to $45.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 29th. Needham & Company LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price target on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Sunday. DZ Bank downgraded shares of Applied Materials from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, February 15th. Bank of America reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $52.00 target price (up previously from $45.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a research report on Friday. Finally, Craig Hallum reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $50.00 target price (up previously from $44.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a research report on Friday. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $52.57.

Applied Materials stock traded up $0.64 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $40.99. 243,163 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 10,527,293. Applied Materials has a 1 year low of $28.79 and a 1 year high of $53.23. The company has a market capitalization of $40.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.20, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.79 and a beta of 1.66. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 2.72 and a quick ratio of 1.74.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last released its quarterly 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. Applied Materials had a net margin of 22.10% and a return on equity of 49.38%. The firm had revenue of $3.54 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.48 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.22 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 22.7% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Applied Materials will post 2.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cerebellum GP LLC boosted its stake in Applied Materials by 57.7% during the 1st quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC now owns 8,161 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $324,000 after purchasing an additional 2,985 shares during the period. Allstate Corp boosted its stake in Applied Materials by 23.3% during the 1st quarter. Allstate Corp now owns 51,131 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $2,028,000 after purchasing an additional 9,678 shares during the period. First Dallas Securities Inc. boosted its stake in Applied Materials by 6.7% during the 1st quarter. First Dallas Securities Inc. now owns 13,450 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $533,000 after purchasing an additional 850 shares during the period. Front Row Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Applied Materials by 283.6% during the 1st quarter. Front Row Advisors LLC now owns 821 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $33,000 after purchasing an additional 607 shares during the period. Finally, Horizon Investments LLC acquired a new position in Applied Materials during the 1st quarter valued at about $230,000. 78.26% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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