MKS Instruments, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKSI) was the target of a large increase in short interest in May. As of May 15th, there was short interest totalling 2,313,917 shares, an increase of 2.8% from the April 28th total of 2,250,061 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 467,049 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 5.0 days.

In other news, VP Brian Charles Quirk sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.75, for a total value of $68,750.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 17,563 shares in the company, valued at $1,207,456.25. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Gregory R. Beecher sold 18,400 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.58, for a total value of $1,445,872.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 22,615 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,777,086.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 69,326 shares of company stock valued at $5,053,912. Corporate insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in MKS Instruments by 50,850.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,584,897 shares of the scientific and technical instruments company’s stock valued at $452,712,000 after buying an additional 6,571,973 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of MKS Instruments during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $34,766,000. Value Holdings Management CO. LLC bought a new position in shares of MKS Instruments during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $21,585,000. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its position in shares of MKS Instruments by 653.8% in the first quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 330,940 shares of the scientific and technical instruments company’s stock valued at $22,752,000 after buying an additional 287,036 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of MKS Instruments by 280.2% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 334,529 shares of the scientific and technical instruments company’s stock valued at $22,999,000 after buying an additional 246,538 shares during the last quarter.

Shares of MKS Instruments (NASDAQ:MKSI) opened at 79.85 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $75.59 and a 200 day moving average price of $65.95. MKS Instruments has a 12 month low of $39.32 and a 12 month high of $82.25. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.57 and a beta of 1.03.

MKS Instruments (NASDAQ:MKSI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 26th. The scientific and technical instruments company reported $1.27 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.19. MKS Instruments had a net margin of 8.09% and a return on equity of 13.63%. The business had revenue of $437.20 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $413.26 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.38 EPS. MKS Instruments’s quarterly revenue was up 138.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that MKS Instruments will post $4.95 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 9th. Shareholders of record on Monday, May 29th will be given a dividend of $0.175 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, May 24th. This represents a $0.70 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.88%. MKS Instruments’s payout ratio is presently 35.23%.

Several analysts recently issued reports on the company. Dougherty & Co reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price objective (up from $86.00) on shares of MKS Instruments in a report on Friday, April 28th. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $81.00 price objective (up from $71.00) on shares of MKS Instruments in a report on Friday, April 28th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded MKS Instruments from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price objective for the company in a report on Friday, April 21st. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating, The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $79.75.

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About MKS Instruments

MKS Instruments, Inc is a global provider of instruments, subsystems and process control solutions that measures, controls, powers, delivers, monitors and analyzes critical parameters of advanced manufacturing processes. The Company operates through two segments, including the Vacuum & Analysis segment and the Light & Motion segment.

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