Short Interest in Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) Expands By 56.4%

Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMATGet Rating) saw a large growth in short interest in the month of April. As of April 30th, there was short interest totalling 12,480,000 shares, a growth of 56.4% from the April 15th total of 7,980,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 7,990,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.6 days. Approximately 1.4% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Kestra Private Wealth Services LLC boosted its position in shares of Applied Materials by 7.1% during the fourth quarter. Kestra Private Wealth Services LLC now owns 11,847 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $1,864,000 after buying an additional 786 shares during the period. MUFG Securities EMEA plc raised its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 210.6% in the third quarter. MUFG Securities EMEA plc now owns 19,121 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $2,461,000 after acquiring an additional 12,965 shares in the last quarter. Ferguson Wellman Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 2.1% in the fourth quarter. Ferguson Wellman Capital Management Inc. now owns 229,250 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $36,075,000 after acquiring an additional 4,679 shares in the last quarter. LVM Capital Management Ltd. MI raised its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 6.3% in the fourth quarter. LVM Capital Management Ltd. MI now owns 70,910 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $11,158,000 after acquiring an additional 4,220 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Symphony Financial Ltd. Co. raised its stake in shares of Applied Materials by 182.2% in the fourth quarter. Symphony Financial Ltd. Co. now owns 9,912 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $1,585,000 after acquiring an additional 6,400 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.90% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Applied Materials stock opened at $111.86 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $98.82 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.56, a PEG ratio of 1.28 and a beta of 1.44. Applied Materials has a fifty-two week low of $102.99 and a fifty-two week high of $167.06. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46, a quick ratio of 1.78 and a current ratio of 2.51. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $121.19 and a 200 day moving average of $137.23.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMATGet Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 16th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $1.89 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.85 by $0.04. Applied Materials had a return on equity of 55.62% and a net margin of 27.10%. The business had revenue of $6.27 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.16 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.39 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 21.5% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Applied Materials will post 8.02 EPS for the current year.

Applied Materials declared that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Friday, March 11th that permits the company to buyback $6.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the manufacturing equipment provider to purchase up to 5.5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 16th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, May 26th will be given a dividend of $0.26 per share. This is a positive change from Applied Materials’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.24. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 25th. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 13.35%.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on AMAT. Piper Sandler reduced their price target on Applied Materials from $158.00 to $153.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, February 17th. StockNews.com assumed coverage on Applied Materials in a report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Wells Fargo & Company reduced their target price on Applied Materials from $180.00 to $135.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a report on Monday, April 18th. Citigroup increased their target price on Applied Materials from $178.00 to $180.00 in a report on Thursday, February 17th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus increased their target price on Applied Materials from $190.00 to $197.00 in a report on Thursday, April 7th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $169.54.

About Applied Materials (Get Rating)

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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