Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT)’s share price gapped up prior to trading on Monday . The stock had previously closed at $26.32, but opened at $26.34. Applied Materials shares last traded at $26.43, with a volume of 4,680,317 shares trading hands.

A number of research firms have recently weighed in on AMAT. B. Riley restated a “buy” rating and set a $27.00 target price on shares of Applied Materials in a research report on Tuesday, July 5th. Pacific Crest restated a “buy” rating on shares of Applied Materials in a research report on Sunday, May 22nd. Morgan Stanley restated a “buy” rating on shares of Applied Materials in a research report on Sunday, May 22nd. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their target price on Applied Materials from $24.00 to $28.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, May 27th. Finally, Summit Redstone restated a “buy” rating on shares of Applied Materials in a research report on Wednesday, June 29th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-three have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $25.73.

The stock has a market cap of $28.97 billion and a P/E ratio of 24.63. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $24.28 and a 200 day moving average price of $20.59.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 19th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.32 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $2.45 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.42 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.29 EPS. Applied Materials’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Applied Materials Inc. will post $1.53 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, August 25th will be paid a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, August 23rd. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.50%.

In other Applied Materials news, Director Thomas J. Iannotti sold 15,000 shares of Applied Materials stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.67, for a total transaction of $355,050.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 70,659 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,672,498.53. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Ali Salehpour sold 35,505 shares of Applied Materials stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.06, for a total value of $854,250.30. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 495,691 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,926,325.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of institutional investors recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Suntrust Banks Inc. increased its position in Applied Materials by 296.7% in the fourth quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 54,611 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $1,018,000 after buying an additional 40,843 shares during the period. Tredje AP fonden increased 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 worth $1,468,000 after buying an additional 1,295 shares during the period. Flippin Bruce & Porter Inc. increased its position in Applied Materials by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Flippin Bruce & Porter Inc. now owns 84,375 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $1,575,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares during the period. Holderness Investments Co. increased its position in shares of Applied Materials by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. Holderness Investments Co. now owns 87,415 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $1,632,000 after buying an additional 410 shares during the last quarter. Finally, J. Goldman & Co LP acquired a new position in shares of Applied Materials during the fourth quarter worth $1,776,000.

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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