Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $64.00 price target on the software giant’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 12.44% from the stock’s current price.
According to Zacks, “Microsoft is one of the largest software companies in the world. It is also one of the leading providers of cloud infrastructure and services. The business reorganization and “cloud-first mobile-first” focus are encouraging, but execution and FX risks remain. Additionally, competition is stiff and the company’s dominant position in the PC market continues to be challenged. Meanwhile, estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Moreover, enterprise strength, the Office 365 subscription model, Azure and promising new products will continue to generate sizeable cash flows with Windows 10 helping maintain consumer share this year and driving enterprise growth in 2016. Additionally, the expansion of Microsoft HoloLens in 6 new markets will improve the company's posiition in the augmented and virtual reality space.”
Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on MSFT. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $57.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note on Sunday, July 17th. Nomura reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Sunday, July 17th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. Vetr upgraded Microsoft Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $59.88 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, September 8th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. raised their target price on Microsoft Corp. from $37.00 to $40.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twenty-one have given a buy rating to the stock. Microsoft Corp. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $59.55.
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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) traded down 0.33% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $56.92. The stock had a trading volume of 25,313,748 shares. Microsoft Corp. has a 12-month low of $46.90 and a 12-month high of $58.70. The company has a market cap of $443.55 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.10 and a beta of 1.09. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $57.42 and a 200-day moving average price of $54.43.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 19th. The software giant reported $0.69 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $22.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $22.15 billion. Microsoft Corp. had a return on equity of 29.38% and a net margin of 19.33%. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.60 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that Microsoft Corp. will post $2.89 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 17th will be issued a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 15th. This is a boost from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.74%. Microsoft Corp.’s payout ratio is 70.24%.
In other news, insider G Mason Morfit sold 18,000,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.12, for a total transaction of $1,010,160,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,500,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.94, for a total transaction of $139,850,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.76% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Private Trust Co. NA boosted its position in Microsoft Corp. by 4.7% in the third quarter. Private Trust Co. NA now owns 133,567 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $7,693,000 after buying an additional 6,050 shares during the last quarter. W.G. Shaheen & Associates DBA Whitney & Co boosted its position in Microsoft Corp. by 1.1% in the third quarter. W.G. Shaheen & Associates DBA Whitney & Co now owns 80,000 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $4,608,000 after buying an additional 840 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Investment Group LLC boosted its position in Microsoft Corp. by 26.0% in the third quarter. Renaissance Investment Group LLC now owns 67,174 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $3,870,000 after buying an additional 13,859 shares during the last quarter. Cohen Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in Microsoft Corp. by 0.4% in the third quarter. Cohen Capital Management Inc. now owns 78,223 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $4,506,000 after buying an additional 350 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Highland Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Microsoft Corp. by 8.0% in the third quarter. Highland Capital Management LLC now owns 595,915 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $34,325,000 after buying an additional 44,179 shares during the last quarter. 71.58% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Microsoft Corp. Company Profile
Microsoft Corporation is a technology company. The Company develops, licenses and supports a range of software products, services and devices. Its segments are Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing. Its products include operating systems; cross-device productivity applications; server applications; business solution applications; desktop and server management tools; software development tools; video games, and training and certification of computer system integrators and developers.
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