Applied Materials (AMAT) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Applied Materials’ top-line continues to benefit from the rising demand for chips used in electronic items. The stock is currently riding on inflection-focused innovation strategy which is its primary growth driver. The company continues to witness technological advancements in semiconductor and display areas. Applied Materials is in a great position to grow sustainably and profitably based on its strong pipeline of enabling technologies, supported by expanding opportunities on the semiconductor and display fronts. Estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Nevertheless, high fixed cost structure and customer concentration remain concerns. Notably, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.”

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AMAT has been the subject of a number of other research reports. UBS began coverage on Applied Materials in a research note on Wednesday, April 4th. They issued a neutral rating and a $58.00 target price for the company. Vetr cut Applied Materials from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $57.92 price objective for the company. in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. BidaskClub upgraded Applied Materials from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, January 20th. Deutsche Bank lifted their price objective on Applied Materials from $65.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, February 15th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus lifted their price objective on Applied Materials from $66.00 to $71.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, February 15th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-four have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $64.52.

AMAT opened at $57.86 on Tuesday. The company has a market capitalization of $58,912.02, a PE ratio of 17.80, a PEG ratio of 0.96 and a beta of 1.63. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 2.96 and a quick ratio of 2.25. Applied Materials has a 52 week low of $37.60 and a 52 week high of $62.40.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $4.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.10 billion. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 45.17% and a net margin of 18.53%. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.67 EPS. research analysts expect that Applied Materials will post 4.41 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 14th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, May 24th will be issued a $0.20 dividend. This is a positive change from Applied Materials’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 23rd. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.38%. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 12.31%.

Applied Materials announced that its board has approved a share buyback program on Wednesday, February 14th that allows the company to repurchase $6.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the manufacturing equipment provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Applied Materials news, Director Thomas J. Iannotti sold 15,000 shares of Applied Materials stock in a transaction on Monday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.47, for a total value of $922,050.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 76,967 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,731,161.49. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.35% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Applied Materials in the 4th quarter worth $110,000. Risk Paradigm Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Applied Materials in the fourth quarter worth $110,000. SevenBridge Financial Group LLC grew its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 957.8% in the fourth quarter. SevenBridge Financial Group LLC now owns 2,380 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $122,000 after acquiring an additional 2,155 shares during the period. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new stake in shares of Applied Materials in the fourth quarter worth $122,000. Finally, Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware bought a new stake in shares of Applied Materials in the fourth quarter worth $169,000. 79.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Applied Materials

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

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