Zacks Investment Research Lowers 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 research report issued on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Applied Materials reported strong fiscal second-quarter results on the back of strong demand for products, new technologies and innovation strategy. The company is riding on its inflection-focused innovation strategy which continues to be the primary growth driver. Further, technological advancements in semiconductor and display areas remain major positives. Also, robust 3D NAND and patterning equipment remain positives. The company remains confident on the opportunities beyond semiconductors, especially in mobile OLEDS and large screen televisions. However, the company’s high fixed cost structure remains a concern for its margin expansion. Further, a slowing smartphone market, especially in China, and its impact on chip demand remains an overhang. Notably, the shares of Applied Materials have underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.”

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Citigroup lifted their target price on Applied Materials from $51.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, May 17th. Cowen lifted their target price on Applied Materials from $47.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, May 17th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their target price on Applied Materials from $45.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, May 17th. Craig Hallum reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 target price (up previously from $44.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a research report on Friday, May 17th. Finally, BidaskClub cut Applied Materials from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, May 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $52.57.

Shares of AMAT traded down $0.84 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $40.43. 247,107 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 10,511,463. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65, a quick ratio of 1.74 and a current ratio of 2.72. Applied Materials has a twelve month low of $28.79 and a twelve month high of $53.23. The stock has a market capitalization of $38.94 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.09, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.79 and a beta of 1.66.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, May 16th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.66 by $0.04. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 49.38% and a net margin of 22.10%. The business had revenue of $3.54 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.48 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.22 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 22.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Applied Materials will post 2.94 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Applied Materials news, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 2,000 shares of Applied Materials stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.45, for a total value of $84,900.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Steve G. Ghanayem sold 25,000 shares of Applied Materials stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.70, for a total value of $1,067,500.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 170,255 shares of company stock worth $6,987,176. Corporate insiders own 0.44% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AMAT. Inscription Capital LLC purchased a new stake in Applied Materials in the 1st quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC boosted its holdings in Applied Materials by 190.8% in the 1st quarter. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC now owns 698 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $27,000 after purchasing an additional 458 shares in the last quarter. Sontag Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in Applied Materials in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $30,000. Bruderman Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Applied Materials in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Finally, Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 73.7% during the 1st quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 780 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $31,000 after acquiring an additional 331 shares in the last quarter. 78.26% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Applied Materials

Applied Materials, Inc provides manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, display, and related industries. It operates through three segments: Semiconductor Systems, Applied Global Services, and Display and Adjacent Markets. The Semiconductor Systems segment develops, manufactures, and sells various manufacturing equipment that is used to fabricate semiconductor chips or integrated circuits.

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