Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Applied Materials’ high fixed cost structure remains a concern for its margin expansion. Further, the company’s concentrated customer base poses a major risk to its business. Management expects the industry spending on manufacturing equipment to be lower in 2019, which is a matter of concern. Notably, the shares of Applied Materials have underperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis. However, the company’s inflection-focused innovation strategy continues to be the primary growth driver. Further, technological advancements in semiconductor and display areas remain major positives. Additionally, robust 3D NAND, DRAM and patterning equipments are supporting the company in gaining momentum in the market. Nevertheless, intensifying market competition remains a headwind.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on AMAT. Needham & Company LLC initiated coverage on Applied Materials in a research note on Friday, December 21st. They set a “buy” rating and a $45.00 price objective on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada raised Applied Materials from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $38.00 to $45.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 29th. ValuEngine raised Applied Materials from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd. Stifel Nicolaus set a $63.00 price target on Applied Materials and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. Finally, BidaskClub raised Applied Materials from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, November 2nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $51.41.

NASDAQ AMAT traded up $0.06 on Monday, reaching $39.84. 592,245 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 11,484,603. The firm has a market capitalization of $37.91 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.96, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.37 and a beta of 1.69. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 1.73 and a current ratio of 2.64. Applied Materials has a fifty-two week low of $28.79 and a fifty-two week high of $62.40.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 15th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.97 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.97. The company had revenue of $4.01 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4 billion. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 62.56% and a net margin of 19.20%. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Applied Materials will post 3.37 EPS for the current year.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AMAT. Moody National Bank Trust Division purchased a new stake in Applied Materials during the 4th quarter worth about $25,000. Mondrian Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 4th quarter valued at about $33,000. Athena Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 4th quarter valued at about $33,000. Certified Advisory Corp increased its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 59.8% in the 4th quarter. Certified Advisory Corp now owns 1,080 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $35,000 after acquiring an additional 404 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Essex Savings Bank purchased a new position in shares of Applied Materials in the 4th quarter valued at about $38,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 79.35% of the company’s stock.

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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