Shares of Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) will begin trading ex-dividend on Tuesday, Nov. 22. To qualify for a dividend check, investors must have owned Applied Materials shares prior to Tuesday, which is the day the company's management will finalize its roster of shareholders to whom it will mail payments.
Applied Materials stock closed Friday at $30.74, up 0.03%. The shares have risen 64.65% year to date, including gains of 8.55% in the past 30 days. This compares with a 6.75% year-to-date rise in the S&P 500 index (SPX). Applied Materials stock has risen 78.31% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has risen 4.72%. (See also: Trading Opportunity in These Trend Channel Stocks.)
In its fiscal fourth quarter earnings results, reported last week, Applied Materials reported adjusted earnings per share of 66 cents, which beat analysts' estimates by 1 cent. Fourth quarter revenue of $3.3 billion grew 39.2% year over year but missed consensus estimates by some $10 million. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based manufacturing equipment specialist beat earnings on the back of a 1.5% rise in gross margin, reaching 43.7%, while operating margin grew to 25.2%.
What's more, the company said its new orders surged 25% year over year to $3.03 billion, putting its backlog $4.58 billion, up 46%. The backlog gives Applied Materials a solid base of predictable revenue. Looking ahead to the quarter that ends January, Applied Materials is expected to earn 59 cents per share, up from 26 cents a year ago, on revenue of $3.13 billion, up 38%. (See also: 5 Tech Stocks With Biggest Gains in 2016.)
Based on Friday's closing price of $30.74, Applied Materials' 10-cent per share quarterly dividend yields 1.35% annually, or about 65 basis points below the 2.00% average yield of the S&P 500 index. Applied Materials will send its dividend payment on Dec. 15 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 25. The stock has a consensus Buy rating and an average analyst 12-month price target of $33.50, implying a rise of 9% from current levels.