KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ:KLAC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $85.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target points to a potential upside of 9.40% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “KLA is one of the leading suppliers of inspection and metrology products and services. The fiscal first-quarter earnings of the company were above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. In the quarter, Lam terminated its proposed acquisition of KLA-Tencor, following antitrust objections from the Justice Department. KLA’s comprehensive product line, cost reduction initiatives and strong balance sheet remain positives that will generate growth whenever cyclical pressures permit. Though the competition and concentrated customer base increases execution risk, the increasing process control spending across foundry, memory and logic players through 2016 and beyond will enable KLA to deliver stronger results.”

Several other research firms also recently weighed in on KLAC. Pacific Crest reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of KLA-Tencor Corp. in a report on Friday, July 29th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their price objective on shares of KLA-Tencor Corp. from $79.50 to $84.50 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $82.00 price objective on shares of KLA-Tencor Corp. in a report on Friday, July 29th. Deutsche Bank AG upped their price objective on shares of KLA-Tencor Corp. from $72.00 to $78.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. upped their price objective on shares of KLA-Tencor Corp. from $74.00 to $78.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $81.88.

Analyst Recommendations for KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ:KLAC)

Shares of KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ:KLAC) opened at 77.70 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $12.15 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.65 and a beta of 1.60. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $73.40 and its 200-day moving average is $72.23. KLA-Tencor Corp. has a one year low of $62.33 and a one year high of $77.86.

KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ:KLAC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 20th. The company reported $1.16 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.13. The business earned $751 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $735.01 million. KLA-Tencor Corp. had a net margin of 25.15% and a return on equity of 138.28%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 16.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.71 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that KLA-Tencor Corp. will post $5.36 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, November 15th will be issued a $0.54 dividend. This is an increase from KLA-Tencor Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.52. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 10th. This represents a $2.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.78%. KLA-Tencor Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 43.55%.

In related news, EVP Ahmad A. Khan sold 10,775 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.82, for a total value of $806,185.50. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 17,173 shares in the company, valued at $1,284,883.86. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Michael Kirk sold 19,750 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.54, for a total value of $1,472,165.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 1,279 shares in the company, valued at approximately $95,336.66. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.26% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in KLAC. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. increased its position in KLA-Tencor Corp. by 773.9% in the third quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. now owns 292,038 shares of the company’s stock worth $20,357,000 after buying an additional 258,621 shares in the last quarter. Cookson Peirce & Co. Inc. increased its position in KLA-Tencor Corp. by 8.7% in the third quarter. Cookson Peirce & Co. Inc. now owns 194,115 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,532,000 after buying an additional 15,500 shares in the last quarter. Credit Suisse AG increased its position in KLA-Tencor Corp. by 2.2% in the third quarter. Credit Suisse AG now owns 509,035 shares of the company’s stock worth $35,485,000 after buying an additional 11,052 shares in the last quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC increased its position in KLA-Tencor Corp. by 10.7% in the third quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC now owns 7,040 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after buying an additional 679 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. increased its position in KLA-Tencor Corp. by 39.9% in the third quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 7,532 shares of the company’s stock worth $525,000 after buying an additional 2,150 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 85.32% of the company’s stock.

About KLA-Tencor Corp.

KLA-Tencor Corporation is a supplier of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and related nanoelectronics industries. The Company’s products are also used in various other industries, including the light emitting diode (LED) and data storage industries, as well as general materials research.

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