Applied Materials (AMAT) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors 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.”

Several other equities analysts have also commented on the company. Stifel Nicolaus set a $63.00 price target on Applied Materials and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. B. Riley downgraded Applied Materials from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $63.00 to $36.00 in a research report on Monday, October 29th. UBS Group downgraded Applied Materials from a “positive” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. DA Davidson dropped their price objective on Applied Materials to $55.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, November 16th. Finally, ValuEngine raised Applied Materials from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 21st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $51.41.

Shares of Applied Materials stock traded up $0.06 during trading on Monday, hitting $39.84. 592,245 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 11,484,603. The firm has a market cap of $37.91 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.96, a P/E/G ratio of 1.37 and a beta of 1.69. The company has a current ratio of 2.64, a quick ratio of 1.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78. Applied Materials has a 52-week low of $28.79 and a 52-week high of $62.40.

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

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its position in Applied Materials by 13.6% during the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 23,108,959 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $756,588,000 after acquiring an additional 2,772,739 shares in the last quarter. Altshuler Shaham Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Applied Materials in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $1,689,000. Tredje AP fonden increased its position in shares of Applied Materials by 10.5% in the fourth quarter. Tredje AP fonden now owns 72,458 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $2,372,000 after buying an additional 6,894 shares in the last quarter. Cohen Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Applied Materials by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Cohen Capital Management Inc. now owns 194,450 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $6,366,000 after buying an additional 700 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Highstreet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Applied Materials by 4.9% in the fourth quarter. Highstreet Asset Management Inc. now owns 24,252 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $794,000 after buying an additional 1,128 shares in the last quarter. 79.35% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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