Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) will report its fiscal first-quarter financial results Wednesday after the markets close. Thomson Reuters has consensus estimates of $0.27 in earnings per share (EPS) and $2.33 billion in revenue. In the first quarter of the previous year, the company posted EPS of $0.23 and $2.19 billion in revenue.
This semiconductor giant has long been the powerhouse name in chip capital equipment, and it is a top pick for 2015 at Stifel. The company is ramping up its efforts to be a bigger player in the NAND sector. For Applied Materials, where its share has been low in this arena, the new architecture throws open doors for a new and very profitable business opportunity.
The company saw its short interest increase to 72.0 million shares, with 5.9 days to cover, by the January 30 settlement date. The previous reading was 71.2 million, with 4.6 days to cover.
Cowen maintained a Buy rating and set the price target for Applied Materials at $26.00, implying upside of 7% from Tuesday’s close at $24.28. B. Riley reiterated a Neutral rating with a $24.50 price target.
The 50-day moving average is at $24.25, and shares of Applied Materials have been testing it since the beginning of January. The 200-day moving average is well below at $22.09.
Applied Materials shares were down fractionally Wednesday afternoon at $24.15. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $27.18 and a 52-week trading range of $17.73 to $25.71.
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