Nanometrics Incorporated (NASDAQ:NANO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “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. The company’s materials characterization products include systems that are used to monitor the physical, optical, electrical, and material characteristics of discrete electronic industry, opto-electronic, high brightness LEDs, solar photovoltaics, compound semiconductor, strained silicon, and silicon-on-insulator devices, including composition, crystal structure, layer thickness, dopant concentration, contamination, and electron mobility. “

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on NANO. Stifel Nicolaus raised Nanometrics from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $29.00 to $31.00 in a report on Friday, June 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Benchmark Co. reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $34.00 target price on shares of Nanometrics in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Finally, BidaskClub lowered Nanometrics from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Nanometrics currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $31.67.

Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO) traded up 0.93% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $28.28. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 74,796 shares. The stock has a market cap of $721.00 million, a P/E ratio of 15.04 and a beta of 1.80. Nanometrics has a 12-month low of $18.65 and a 12-month high of $32.42. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $26.63 and its 200 day moving average is $27.46.

Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The semiconductor company reported $0.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.31 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $64.43 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $66.37 million. Nanometrics had a net margin of 19.94% and a return on equity of 11.95%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 15.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.26 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Nanometrics will post $1.20 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, CEO Timothy J. Stultz sold 20,000 shares of Nanometrics stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.19, for a total value of $503,800.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 300,651 shares in the company, valued at $7,573,398.69. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Jeff Andreson sold 7,233 shares of Nanometrics stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $27.11, for a total value of $196,086.63. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 69,738 shares of company stock worth $1,813,540. Company insiders own 6.70% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of NANO. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its position in Nanometrics by 1.9% during the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 16,780 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $511,000 after purchasing an additional 316 shares in the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can boosted its position in Nanometrics by 10.0% during the first quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 36,141 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $1,099,000 after purchasing an additional 3,274 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in Nanometrics by 10.7% during the first quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 839,815 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $25,580,000 after purchasing an additional 81,174 shares in the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its position in Nanometrics by 15.0% during the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 4,812 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $147,000 after purchasing an additional 626 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Comerica Bank boosted its position in Nanometrics by 5.7% during the first quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 27,779 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock worth $886,000 after purchasing an additional 1,491 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 81.28% of the company’s stock.

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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