Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) was the target of unusually large options trading on Wednesday. Stock traders bought 2,307 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of 118% compared to the average daily volume of 1,060 call options.

AMAT has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Craig Hallum lifted their target price on Applied Materials to $60.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 18th. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their target price on Applied Materials from $50.00 to $55.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, May 21st. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $48.00 target price (up from $45.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Friday, May 19th. UBS AG reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $51.00 target price (up from $44.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. Finally, Instinet reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $47.00 target price (up from $40.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Sunday, May 21st. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-one have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $51.44.

In other news, Director Alexander Karsner sold 22,762 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.03, for a total transaction of $1,002,210.86. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Company insiders own 0.31% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 2.3% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 75,084,373 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $3,101,736,000 after purchasing an additional 1,721,964 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 2,063.7% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 67,009,706 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $2,606,676,000 after purchasing an additional 63,912,660 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 2.1% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 48,897,158 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $2,019,939,000 after purchasing an additional 985,296 shares during the period. FMR LLC increased its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 16.8% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 32,013,147 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $1,245,311,000 after purchasing an additional 4,604,275 shares during the period. Finally, Capital Research Global Investors increased its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 14.8% in the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 17,724,836 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $732,213,000 after purchasing an additional 2,284,836 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 79.67% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) opened at 44.35 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $44.36 and a 200-day moving average price of $42.22. Applied Materials has a one year low of $27.56 and a one year high of $47.86. The stock has a market cap of $47.30 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.77 and a beta of 1.81.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.86 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.84 by $0.02. Applied Materials had a net margin of 22.08% and a return on equity of 40.74%. The company had revenue of $3.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.69 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.50 earnings per share. Applied Materials’s revenue was up 32.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Applied Materials will post $3.20 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 14th. Shareholders of record on Friday, November 24th will be paid a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 22nd. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.90%. Applied Materials’s payout ratio is currently 14.18%.

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About Applied Materials

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