Shares of Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Thursday . The stock traded as high as $26.24 and last traded at $25.94, with a volume of 6,617,131 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $25.91.

Several brokerages have recently issued reports on AMAT. Needham & Company LLC increased their price objective on Applied Materials from $26.00 to $29.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Cowen and Company restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $26.00 price target on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Tuesday. Vetr cut Applied Materials from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $25.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Thursday, June 23rd. DA Davidson upgraded Applied Materials from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the company from $24.00 to $28.00 in a research note on Friday, June 24th. Finally, B. Riley restated a “buy” rating and issued a $27.00 price target on shares of Applied Materials in a research note on Friday, June 10th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-three have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $25.73.

The firm’s 50-day moving average is $24.07 and its 200 day moving average is $20.42. The firm has a market capitalization of $28.31 billion and a P/E ratio of 24.06.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, May 19th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.34 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.32 by $0.02. The firm earned $2.45 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.42 billion. Applied Materials’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.29 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Applied Materials Inc. will post $1.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, August 25th will be given a $0.10 dividend. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.54%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 23rd.

In other news, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.86, for a total value of $114,300.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 93,959 shares in the company, valued at $2,147,902.74. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Ali Salehpour sold 40,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.37, for a total transaction of $974,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 548,947 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $13,377,838.39. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors recently bought and sold shares of the company. Tredje AP fonden boosted its position in Applied Materials by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Tredje AP fonden now owns 78,651 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $1,468,000 after buying an additional 1,295 shares during the period. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in Applied Materials by 228,503.5% in the fourth quarter. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. now owns 194,313 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $3,628,000 after buying an additional 194,228 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley boosted its position in Applied Materials by 8.9% in the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 2,402,030 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $44,846,000 after buying an additional 196,896 shares during the period. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd boosted its position in Applied Materials by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 354,458 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $6,618,000 after buying an additional 7,900 shares during the period. Finally, Harris Associates L P boosted its position in Applied Materials by 6.7% in the fourth quarter. Harris Associates L P now owns 44,891,908 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $838,132,000 after buying an additional 2,826,384 shares during the period.

Applied Materials, Inc (Applied) provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the semiconductor, display, solar photovoltaic (PV) and related industries across the world. The Company operates in four segments: Silicon Systems, Applied Global Services, Display, and Energy and Environmental Solutions.

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