Applied Materials (AMAT) Upgraded by Needham & Company LLC to “Strong-Buy”

Needham & Company LLC upgraded shares of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, MarketBeat reports. Needham & Company LLC currently has $72.00 target price on the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock, up from their prior target price of $66.00.

AMAT has been the subject of several other reports. Vetr upgraded shares of Applied Materials from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $60.07 target price for the company in a report on Monday, November 20th. B. Riley reiterated a buy rating and set a $63.00 price target on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Monday, November 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their price target on shares of Applied Materials to $70.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Applied Materials from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $64.00 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. Finally, Craig Hallum reiterated a buy rating and set a $76.00 price target (up from $60.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Thursday, September 28th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-three have issued a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $61.22.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ AMAT) opened at $53.20 on Monday. The company has a current ratio of 3.14, a quick ratio of 2.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. Applied Materials has a twelve month low of $32.60 and a twelve month high of $60.89. The firm has a market cap of $56,200.00, a PE ratio of 16.78, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.07 and a beta of 1.81.

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

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 14th. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 21st will be given a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 20th. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.75%. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio is presently 12.62%.

In other Applied Materials news, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 4,000 shares of Applied Materials stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.67, for a total transaction of $214,680.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP Ali Salehpour sold 125,125 shares of Applied Materials stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.47, for a total transaction of $6,440,183.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 312,716 shares of company stock worth $16,218,746 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 0.31% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC acquired a new position in Applied Materials during the third quarter valued at approximately $105,000. MPS Loria Financial Planners LLC acquired a new position in Applied Materials during the second quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Wunderlich Capital Managemnt lifted its position in shares of Applied Materials by 2.9% during the second quarter. Wunderlich Capital Managemnt now owns 3,037 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $125,000 after purchasing an additional 87 shares in the last quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of Applied Materials during the second quarter worth $134,000. Finally, First Personal Financial Services lifted its position in shares of Applied Materials by 281.5% during the third quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 2,575 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $134,000 after purchasing an additional 1,900 shares in the last quarter. 79.76% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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