Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Applied Materials (AMAT) to Hold

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Applied Materials has outperformed the industry it belongs to in the past 12 months. The stock is currently riding on inflection-focused innovation strategy which is its primary growth driver. The company continues to witness technological advancements in semiconductor and display areas. Applied Materials is in a great position to grow sustainably and profitably based on its strong pipeline of enabling technologies, supported by expanding opportunities on the semiconductor and display fronts. 3D NAND, DRAM and patterning have led to significant market share gains. Nevertheless, high fixed cost structure and customer concentration remain concerns.”

A number of other research firms have also recently weighed in on AMAT. Vetr cut shares of Applied Materials from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $61.08 target price on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Nomura reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 target price (up from $55.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Deutsche Bank boosted their target price on shares of Applied Materials from $58.00 to $65.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Needham & Company LLC boosted their target price on shares of Applied Materials to $66.00 and gave the company a “positive” rating in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group boosted their target price on shares of Applied Materials from $62.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-four have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Applied Materials currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $62.56.

Shares of Applied Materials (AMAT) traded up $0.05 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $49.55. 12,880,000 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 13,610,000. Applied Materials has a twelve month low of $34.58 and a twelve month high of $60.89. The company has a quick ratio of 2.43, a current ratio of 3.14 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. The company has a market cap of $52,200.00, a P/E ratio of 15.63, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.94 and a beta of 1.72.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 16th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $3.97 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.93 billion. Applied Materials had a net margin of 23.62% and a return on equity of 41.51%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 20.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.66 EPS. research analysts predict that Applied Materials will post 4.04 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, VP Ali Salehpour sold 125,125 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, December 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.47, for a total value of $6,440,183.75. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, November 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $290,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 312,716 shares of company stock worth $16,218,746 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC bought a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 3rd quarter worth $105,000. MPS Loria Financial Planners LLC bought a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 2nd quarter worth $109,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. bought a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 4th quarter worth $110,000. Risk Paradigm Group LLC bought a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 4th quarter worth $110,000. Finally, Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 4th quarter worth $122,000. 79.30% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Applied Materials Company Profile

Applied Materials, Inc provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the global semiconductor, display and related industries. The Company’s segments are Semiconductor Systems, which includes semiconductor capital equipment for etch, rapid thermal processing, deposition, chemical mechanical planarization, metrology and inspection, wafer packaging, and ion implantation; Applied Global Services, which provides integrated solutions to optimize equipment and fab performance and productivity; Display and Adjacent Markets, which includes products for manufacturing liquid crystal displays, organic light-emitting diodes, upgrades and roll-to-roll Web coating systems and other display technologies for televisions, personal computers, smart phones and other consumer-oriented devices, and Corporate and Other segment, which includes revenues from products, as well as costs of products sold for fabricating solar photovoltaic cells and modules, and certain operating expenses.

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