4. Applied Materials (AMAT) is the global leader in providing innovative equipment, services and software to enable the manufacture of advanced semiconductors, flat panel display and solar photovoltaic products. It has a market cap of more than $2.9 billion.
Of the 26 analysts covering the stock, 35% recommend a buy and 54% rate a hold. Analysts have average 12-month price target of $13.06 for the stock, about 11.5% higher than the current price, according to a Bloomberg consensus.
For the fourth quarter of 2011, the company reported net sales of $2.18 billion. Operating income was reported at $361 million and net income stood at $456 million. or 34 cents per share. In the fourth quarter, AMAT generated orders of $1.60 billion. For fiscal year 2011, the company reported orders of $10.14 billion, record net sales of $10.52 billion, operating income of $2.40 billion, and net income of $1.93 billion, or $1.45 per share.
During the quarter, the company paid cash dividend of $106 million and used $175 million to repurchase 16 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $11.04 per share. During the year, AMAT increased its quarterly dividend payment by 14% and returned $865 million to its stockholders through dividends and stock buybacks.In Nov. 2011, the company completed the acquisition of Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates for a total consideration of $4.57 billion in cash, according to Bloomberg. The acquisition of Varian enhances its extensive portfolio with market-leading ion implantation technology, a market that represents an annual opportunity approaching $1.5 billion.
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