Short Interest in Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) Rises By 16.8%

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) was the target of a large increase in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 16,058,256 shares, an increase of 16.8% from the February 15th total of 13,749,441 shares. Approximately 1.4% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 16,976,156 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 0.9 days.

AMAT has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. BidaskClub upgraded Applied Materials from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, January 20th. Vetr downgraded Applied Materials from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, January 17th. B. Riley restated a “buy” rating and issued a $71.00 target price on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. ValuEngine upgraded Applied Materials from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus upped their price target on Applied Materials from $66.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, February 15th. Twenty-five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $64.42.

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Shares of Applied Materials stock traded down $2.72 during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $52.89. 20,892,017 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 15,208,797. Applied Materials has a fifty-two week low of $37.41 and a fifty-two week high of $62.40. The stock has a market capitalization of $58,428.71, a P/E ratio of 16.27, a PEG ratio of 0.95 and a beta of 1.63. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 2.96 and a quick ratio of 2.25.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.98 by $0.08. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 45.17% and a net margin of 18.53%. The business had revenue of $4.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.10 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.67 earnings per share. research analysts anticipate that Applied Materials will post 4.41 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Applied Materials declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, February 14th that permits the company to buyback $6.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the manufacturing equipment provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 14th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, May 24th will be issued a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 23rd. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.51%. This is a boost from Applied Materials’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio is presently 12.31%.

In other news, Director Thomas J. Iannotti sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.47, for a total value of $922,050.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 76,967 shares in the company, valued at $4,731,161.49. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.67, for a total value of $214,680.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 72,466 shares of company stock worth $3,970,428. Company insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 9.2% in the fourth quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 461,793 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $23,607,000 after purchasing an additional 38,960 shares during the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 1.1% in the third quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 6,119,749 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $318,778,000 after purchasing an additional 64,186 shares during the last quarter. Elite Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Applied Materials in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $635,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 5.7% in the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,097,037 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $630,146,000 after purchasing an additional 650,755 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt increased its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 25.7% in the fourth quarter. Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt now owns 49,814 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $2,547,000 after purchasing an additional 10,200 shares during the last quarter. 79.29% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Applied Materials

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

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