Why Applied Materials Stock Gained 15% in September

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What happened 

Semiconductor giant Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) jumped 15% last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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The increase sent the stock to a new high, with shares up 60% since the start of 2017.

So what

September's rally kicked into high gear late in the month following the company's annual investor meeting. During that presentation, executives put a few numbers behind the bullish outlook they've described in general terms in their last few quarterly reports.

Specifically, CEO Gary Dickerson and his management team believe the company can reach $4.5 billion in yearly revenue by 2020 in its services division, which translates into 15% compound annual growth over the next three years. Increasing demand for high-performance semiconductors will lead to sharp profit gains, too, with earnings per share improving to $5.08 in 2020, up from $1.75 per share in the most recent fiscal year.

"A.I. and big data are sparking a renaissance in chip design," Dickerson told investors. "These factors combined with the strength of our diverse portfolio give us confidence in our ability to deliver higher levels of profitable growth."

Now what

Applied Materials is targeting a 19% sales boost for its fiscal fourth quarter to mark a slight slowdown from last quarter's record growth result. Yet if it can advance toward those aggressive long-term growth targets, I'd expect the stock's rally to continue.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.