Nanometrics Incorporated (NASDAQ:NANO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Nanometrics Inc. is a leader in the design, manufacture, marketing, and support of process monitoring systems for the semiconductor, data storage, and flat panel display industries. The company’s primary products are thin film measurement/analysis and overlay metrology systems. These products are used to analyze manufacturing quality at critical steps in production and to provide feedback for production control or notification of out-of-control processes. “

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on NANO. Stifel Nicolaus upgraded Nanometrics from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price target for the company from $29.00 to $31.00 in a research report on Friday, June 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Benchmark Co. reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $34.00 price target (up previously from $30.00) on shares of Nanometrics in a research report on Wednesday, May 3rd.

Nanometrics (NANO) traded up 2.133% on Wednesday, hitting $26.095. The stock had a trading volume of 119,308 shares. The company has a market cap of $658.92 million, a PE ratio of 14.441 and a beta of 1.72. Nanometrics has a one year low of $18.65 and a one year high of $32.42. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $27.30 and a 200-day moving average of $27.42.

Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The semiconductor company reported $0.19 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.24 by $0.05. Nanometrics had a net margin of 19.71% and a return on equity of 12.17%. The company had revenue of $59.31 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $59.15 million. Equities analysts expect that Nanometrics will post $1.23 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Director Bruce C. Rhine sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.47, for a total value of $294,700.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 736,561 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $21,706,452.67. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Timothy J. Stultz sold 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.93, for a total value of $538,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 300,651 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,096,531.43. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 37,124 shares of company stock valued at $1,025,599 in the last quarter. 6.70% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in NANO. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System increased its stake in shares of Nanometrics by 2.0% in the first quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 10,200 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock valued at $311,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Creative Planning acquired a new stake in shares of Nanometrics during the first quarter valued at about $276,000. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Nanometrics by 50.1% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 281,056 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock valued at $7,043,000 after buying an additional 93,798 shares in the last quarter. Guggenheim Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Nanometrics during the fourth quarter valued at about $2,746,000. Finally, Two Sigma Investments LP increased its stake in shares of Nanometrics by 77.8% in the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 128,594 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock valued at $3,223,000 after buying an additional 56,277 shares in the last quarter. 81.46% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Nanometrics Company Profile

Nanometrics Incorporated is a provider of process control metrology and inspection systems used primarily in the fabrication of semiconductors and other solid-state devices, including sensors, optoelectronic devices, high-brightness (HB) light emitting diodes (LEDs), discretes and data storages components.

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