Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Nanometrics is a leading provider of advanced, high-performance process control metrology and inspection systems used primarily in the fabrication of semiconductors and other solid-state devices, such as data storage components and discrete including high-brightness LEDs and power management components. It’s automated and integrated metrology systems measure critical dimensions, device structures, overlay registration, topography and various thin film properties, including film thickness as well as optical, electrical and material properties. The company’s process control solutions are deployed throughout the fabrication process, from front-end-of-line substrate manufacturing, to high-volume production of semiconductors and other devices, to advanced wafer-scale packaging applications. Nanometrics’ systems enable advanced process control for device manufacturers, providing improved device yield at reduced manufacturing cycle time, supporting the accelerated product life cycles in the semiconductor market. “

NANO has been the topic of a number of other reports. BidaskClub cut Nanometrics from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 6th. Benchmark restated a buy rating and set a $34.00 target price on shares of Nanometrics in a research report on Friday, October 13th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $31.67.

Nanometrics (NANO) traded up $0.51 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $25.24. The stock had a trading volume of 645,686 shares, compared to its average volume of 185,439. Nanometrics has a 52-week low of $23.73 and a 52-week high of $32.42. The firm has a market cap of $659.33, a PE ratio of 23.78, a PEG ratio of 1.77 and a beta of 1.75.

Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The semiconductor company reported $0.22 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.21 by $0.01. Nanometrics had a return on equity of 10.26% and a net margin of 19.23%. The firm had revenue of $56.70 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $56.53 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.33 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 3.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts anticipate that Nanometrics will post 1.16 earnings per share for the current year.

Nanometrics announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Wednesday, November 15th that permits the company to repurchase $50.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the semiconductor company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, CFO Jeff Andreson sold 7,233 shares of Nanometrics stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.11, for a total value of $196,086.63. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Timothy J. Stultz sold 20,000 shares of Nanometrics stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.15, for a total value of $563,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 41,399 shares of company stock worth $1,126,411. 6.70% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of NANO. Hood River Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in Nanometrics by 72.5% in the 2nd quarter. Hood River Capital Management LLC now owns 880,612 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $22,271,000 after buying an additional 370,127 shares during the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Nanometrics by 892.7% in the 2nd quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 396,002 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $10,015,000 after purchasing an additional 356,109 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its stake in Nanometrics by 161.7% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 368,507 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $10,539,000 after purchasing an additional 227,710 shares in the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC lifted its stake in Nanometrics by 134.9% in the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 351,648 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $8,894,000 after purchasing an additional 201,969 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its stake in Nanometrics by 13.2% in the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,374,528 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $34,762,000 after purchasing an additional 160,595 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 83.27% of the company’s stock.

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About Nanometrics

Nanometrics Incorporated is a provider of process control metrology and inspection systems used primarily in the fabrication of semiconductors and other solid-state devices, including sensors, optoelectronic devices, high-brightness (HB) light emitting diodes (LEDs), discretes and data storages components.

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