Advisor Group Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) by 14.5% in the fourth quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 92,990 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock after buying an additional 11,769 shares during the quarter. Advisor Group Inc.’s holdings in Applied Materials were worth $4,755,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in AMAT. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in Applied Materials by 9.2% in the fourth quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 461,793 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock valued at $23,607,000 after purchasing an additional 38,960 shares during the period. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 1.1% during the third quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 6,119,749 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $318,778,000 after purchasing an additional 64,186 shares during the period. Elite Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Applied Materials during the fourth quarter worth $635,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 5.7% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,097,037 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $630,146,000 after purchasing an additional 650,755 shares during the period. Finally, Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt raised its holdings in shares of Applied Materials by 25.7% during the fourth quarter. Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt now owns 49,814 shares of the manufacturing equipment provider’s stock worth $2,547,000 after purchasing an additional 10,200 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 78.33% of the company’s stock.

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Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) opened at $61.61 on Monday. Applied Materials, Inc. has a 12-month low of $37.41 and a 12-month high of $61.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 2.25 and a current ratio of 2.96. The firm has a market cap of $64,730.00, a PE ratio of 17.16, a PEG ratio of 1.17 and a beta of 1.58.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 14th. The manufacturing equipment provider reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.08. Applied Materials had a net margin of 18.53% and a return on equity of 45.17%. The company had revenue of $4.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.10 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.67 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Applied Materials, Inc. will post 4.39 earnings per share for the current year.

Applied Materials announced that its board has approved a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, February 14th that permits the company to buyback $6.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the manufacturing equipment provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, May 24th will be given a dividend of $0.20 per share. This is a positive change from Applied Materials’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, May 23rd. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.30%. Applied Materials’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 11.14%.

In other news, VP Ali Salehpour sold 125,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.47, for a total transaction of $6,440,183.75. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Stephen R. Forrest sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.67, for a total transaction of $214,680.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 307,716 shares of company stock valued at $15,928,746. Insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on AMAT shares. Vetr cut shares of Applied Materials from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $61.08 price objective on the stock. in a report on Tuesday, November 21st. Nomura reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price objective (up previously from $55.00) on shares of Applied Materials in a report on Tuesday, November 21st. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of Applied Materials from $62.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. Royal Bank of Canada increased their price objective on shares of Applied Materials from $55.00 to $64.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. Finally, Deutsche Bank increased their price objective on shares of Applied Materials from $58.00 to $65.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. Twenty-six investment analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $64.10.

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About Applied Materials

Applied Materials, Inc provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the global semiconductor, display and related industries. The Company’s segments are Semiconductor Systems, which includes semiconductor capital equipment for etch, rapid thermal processing, deposition, chemical mechanical planarization, metrology and inspection, wafer packaging, and ion implantation; Applied Global Services, which provides integrated solutions to optimize equipment and fab performance and productivity; Display and Adjacent Markets, which includes products for manufacturing liquid crystal displays, organic light-emitting diodes, upgrades and roll-to-roll Web coating systems and other display technologies for televisions, personal computers, smart phones and other consumer-oriented devices, and Corporate and Other segment, which includes revenues from products, as well as costs of products sold for fabricating solar photovoltaic cells and modules, and certain operating expenses.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT)

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