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Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) EVP Randhir Thakur sold 70,295 shares of the stock on the open market in a transaction dated Thursday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.83, for a total value of $1,604,834.85. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 800,521 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $18,275,894. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.

Shares of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) traded up 0.09% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $22.81. 5,488,520 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Applied Materials has a one year low of $14.85 and a one year high of $23.22. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $21.53 and a 200-day moving average of $19.29. The company has a market cap of $27.769 billion and a P/E ratio of 32.37. Applied Materials also was the target of a significant drop in short interest in the month of June. As of June 13th, there was short interest totalling 71,699,600 shares, a drop of 7.3% from the May 30th total of 77,360,636 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 14,847,620 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 4.8 days. Approximately 5.9% of the company’s stock are short sold.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 15th. The company reported $0.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.28. The company had revenue of $2.35 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.35 billion. Analysts expect that Applied Materials will post $1.06 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Thursday, September 11th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 21st will be paid a dividend of $0.10 per share. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.75%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 19th.

AMAT has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Analysts at Berenberg Bank raised their price target on shares of Applied Materials from $23.00 to $27.00 in a research note on Wednesday. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Stifel Nicolaus raised their price target on shares of Applied Materials from $23.00 to $25.00 in a research note on Friday, June 27th. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at Deutsche Bank raised their price target on shares of Applied Materials from $18.00 to $22.00 in a research note on Friday, June 27th. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and three have assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Applied Materials currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $21.83.

Applied Materials, Inc (NASDAQ:AMAT) provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the global semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic (PV) and related industries.

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