Shares of Applied Materials AMAT climbed 4.1% to close at a new 52-week high of $59.99 on Tuesday. This surge came without any substantive news to speak of, which means it’s time to dive into what the tech giant has done recently that might have led to today’s gains.
Applied Materials is still riding a huge wave of investor confidence after the company reported record quarterly revenues of $4.2 billion just a few weeks ago. On top of the 28% jump in Q1 sales, the wafer equipment firm’s adjusted quarterly earnings skyrocketed 58% year over year.
Before today’s gains, shares of AMAT had jumped over 19% in the last four weeks alone and 56% during the last year. Today, over 23 million shares of Applied Materials changed hands, thoroughly outpacing its roughly 13.8 million average volume.
It would seem that investors might be looking to buy as much Applied Materials stock as they can at its current prices, as many have likely already seen the company’s current growth projections, and don’t envision the stock losing steam any time soon.
The company is expected to see its current-quarter earnings soar 43% to hit $1.13 per share, based on our current Zacks Consensus Estimates. On top of this bottom line growth projection, Applied Materials’ quarterly sales are expected to reach $4.45 billion, which would mark yet another stellar period of top line expansion at 25.5%.
Looking ahead to Applied Materials full fiscal year, the company is projected to see its earnings surge over 35%. The firm’s full-year sales are expected to climb 19.6% to reach $17.39 billion.
Fellow supplier Lam Research LRCX announced on Tuesday its new plan to return at least 50% of free cash flow to Lam stockholders over the next five years. Lam also noted that, starting in the June quarter, it will increase its quarterly dividend by 120% to $1.10 per share.
Lam also announced an additional $2 billion share repurchase program, which brings its total authorization to $4 billion since Nov. 2017 (also read: Why Did Lam Research Stock Surge on Tuesday?).
Lam’s CEO noted that the company’s board was confident enough to enact this plan based on the data and memory storage driven economy’s long-term growth potential.
Investors seem confident in Applied Materials based on its past performance—the company has matched or topped earnings estimates for 18 straight quarters—as well as its potential to grow in a booming industry.
Santa Clara, California-based Applied Materials is also currently a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and sports an “A” grade for Growth in our Style Scores system.
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