Photronics Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Photronics is a leading worldwide manufacturer of photomasks. Photomasks are high precision quartz plates that contain microscopic images of electronic circuits. A key element in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat panel displays, photomasks are used to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates during the fabrication of integrated circuits, a variety of flat panel displays and, to a lesser extent, other types of electrical and optical components. They are produced in accordance with product designs provided by customers at strategically located manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe, and North America. “

Separately, DA Davidson reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $15.00 target price on shares of Photronics in a report on Monday, August 22nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $12.80.

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Photronics (NASDAQ:PLAB) traded up 1.93% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $10.06. 284,034 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm has a market capitalization of $685.95 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.34 and a beta of 1.08. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $9.72 and a 200 day moving average price of $9.79. Photronics has a one year low of $8.56 and a one year high of $13.05.

Photronics (NASDAQ:PLAB) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, August 18th. The company reported $0.12 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.14 by $0.02. Photronics had a return on equity of 6.07% and a net margin of 11.50%. The firm earned $123.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $123.54 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.17 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts anticipate that Photronics will post $0.55 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Joseph A. Fiorita, Jr. sold 12,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $10.00, for a total value of $120,000.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 161,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,611,000. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Walter M. Fiederowicz sold 21,250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $9.95, for a total transaction of $211,437.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 42,250 shares in the company, valued at approximately $420,387.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 4.12% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Acadian Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Photronics by 266.3% in the first quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 1,014,049 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,557,000 after buying an additional 737,204 shares during the period. ICM Asset Management Inc. WA acquired a new position in shares of Photronics during the first quarter valued at about $665,000. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its position in shares of Photronics by 1,676.1% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 211,548 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,202,000 after buying an additional 199,637 shares during the period. Algert Global LLC raised its position in shares of Photronics by 108.0% in the first quarter. Algert Global LLC now owns 80,036 shares of the company’s stock valued at $833,000 after buying an additional 41,566 shares during the period. Finally, Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware raised its position in shares of Photronics by 28.8% in the first quarter. Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware now owns 474,672 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,941,000 after buying an additional 106,123 shares during the period. 98.92% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Photronics

Photronics, Inc is a manufacturer of photomasks, which are photographic quartz plates containing microscopic images of electronic circuits. The Company supports customers across the full spectrum of integrated circuit (IC) production and flat panel display (FPD) technologies by manufacturing photomasks using electron beam or optical (laser-based) systems.

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