Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors 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 research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Citigroup increased their target price on Applied Materials from $51.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, May 17th. Cowen increased their target price on Applied Materials from $47.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, May 17th. Wells Fargo & Co increased their target price on Applied Materials from $45.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, May 17th. Craig Hallum reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 target price (up previously from $44.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Friday, May 17th. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded Applied Materials from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, May 10th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $52.57.

Shares of AMAT opened at $39.94 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $39.18 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.98, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.54 and a beta of 1.66. Applied Materials has a one year low of $28.79 and a one year high of $53.23. The company has a quick ratio of 1.77, a current ratio of 2.79 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 16th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.66 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $3.54 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.48 billion. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 47.88% and a net margin of 22.10%. Applied Materials’s revenue for the quarter was down 22.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.22 earnings per share. On average, research analysts anticipate that Applied Materials will post 2.98 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.45, for a total transaction of $84,900.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Omkaram Nalamasu sold 143,255 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.73, for a total value of $5,834,776.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 170,255 shares of company stock valued at $6,987,176. Corporate insiders own 0.44% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Evermay Wealth Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 4.1% during the first quarter. Evermay Wealth Management LLC now owns 6,409 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $254,000 after acquiring an additional 250 shares in the last quarter. Roanoke Asset Management Corp NY raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 0.3% during the fourth quarter. Roanoke Asset Management Corp NY now owns 77,495 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $2,537,000 after acquiring an additional 260 shares in the last quarter. Institutional & Family Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 16.3% during the first quarter. Institutional & Family Asset Management LLC now owns 1,866 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $74,000 after acquiring an additional 262 shares in the last quarter. Providence First Trust Co raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 1.2% during the fourth quarter. Providence First Trust Co now owns 22,564 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $739,000 after acquiring an additional 266 shares in the last quarter. Finally, West Oak Capital LLC raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 6.7% during the first quarter. West Oak Capital LLC now owns 4,405 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $175,000 after acquiring an additional 275 shares in the last quarter. 76.39% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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