Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Friday 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. “

A number of other brokerages have also commented on NANO. BidaskClub lowered shares of Nanometrics from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Saturday, December 8th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Nanometrics from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, December 7th. Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Nanometrics from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $40.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Finally, Benchmark restated a buy rating and set a $36.00 price objective on shares of Nanometrics in a report on Wednesday, February 6th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $32.75.

Shares of NASDAQ NANO opened at $29.06 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $703.70 million, a PE ratio of 12.26, a PEG ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 1.73. Nanometrics has a twelve month low of $24.16 and a twelve month high of $48.26.

Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The semiconductor company reported $0.53 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.39 by $0.14. Nanometrics had a net margin of 17.76% and a return on equity of 20.36%. The company had revenue of $77.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $72.65 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.53 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts anticipate that Nanometrics will post 1.27 EPS for the current year.

In other Nanometrics news, VP Greg Swyt sold 1,794 shares of Nanometrics stock in a transaction on Monday, November 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.05, for a total value of $55,703.70. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 9,884 shares in the company, valued at approximately $306,898.20. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Pierre-Yves Lesaicherre sold 6,856 shares of Nanometrics stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.31, for a total transaction of $214,661.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 10,201 shares of company stock worth $315,750 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 6.90% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Fisher Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Nanometrics by 63.1% during the 4th quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 1,028,299 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $28,103,000 after buying an additional 397,677 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its holdings in shares of Nanometrics by 65.1% during the 3rd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 66,506 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $2,495,000 after buying an additional 26,234 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Nanometrics by 14.5% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,722,179 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock valued at $64,616,000 after purchasing an additional 218,259 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in Nanometrics by 2.4% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,574,627 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock valued at $59,078,000 after purchasing an additional 36,956 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Nanometrics by 1.9% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,643,624 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock valued at $136,710,000 after purchasing an additional 68,512 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 85.94% of the company’s stock.

Nanometrics Company Profile

Nanometrics Incorporated provides process control metrology and inspection systems for use primarily in the fabrication of semiconductors and other solid-state devices worldwide. It offers automated metrology systems that provide optical critical dimension, thin film metrology, and wafer stress for transistor and interconnect metrology applications; and integrated metrology systems that are installed onto wafer processing equipment to provide near real-time measurements.

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