Virtue Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm acquired 9,628 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock, valued at approximately $492,000.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC increased its holdings in Applied Materials by 9.2% in the 4th quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 461,793 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $23,607,000 after acquiring an additional 38,960 shares during the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its stake in Applied Materials by 1.1% in the 3rd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 6,119,749 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $318,778,000 after purchasing an additional 64,186 shares during the period. Elite Wealth Management Inc. bought a new position in Applied Materials in the 4th quarter worth about $635,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its stake in Applied Materials by 5.7% in the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,097,037 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $630,146,000 after purchasing an additional 650,755 shares during the period. Finally, Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt boosted its stake in Applied Materials by 25.7% in the 4th quarter. Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt now owns 49,814 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $2,547,000 after purchasing an additional 10,200 shares during the period. 78.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
Several brokerages have commented on AMAT. BidaskClub upgraded Applied Materials from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 1st. Credit Suisse Group restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $75.00 target price (up previously from $74.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Monday, February 26th. Vetr downgraded Applied Materials from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.52 target price for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, February 20th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Applied Materials from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $60.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, February 19th. Finally, Deutsche Bank raised their target price on Applied Materials from $65.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 15th. Twenty-six analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Applied Materials presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $64.10.
Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $1.06 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $4.20 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.10 billion. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 45.17% and a net margin of 18.53%. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.67 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Applied Materials, Inc. will post 4.39 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 14th. Investors of record on Thursday, May 24th will be issued a dividend of $0.20 per share. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.30%. This is a boost from Applied Materials’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, May 23rd. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 11.14%.
Applied Materials declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback plan on Wednesday, February 14th that permits the company to buyback $6.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the manufacturing equipment provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
In related news, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 3rd. The stock was 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 is available through this link. Also, VP Ali Salehpour sold 125,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.47, for a total value of $6,440,183.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 307,716 shares of company stock worth $15,928,746. 0.35% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
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About Applied Materials
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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