Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.
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 mixed 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 the company. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “hold” rating and set a $57.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Monday. Nomura reissued a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Thursday, October 13th. Vetr raised Microsoft Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $59.95 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, October 11th. Credit Agricole SA reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $60.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Wednesday, October 5th. Finally, Cowen and Company reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $60.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Friday, September 30th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twenty have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Microsoft Corp. currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $59.62.
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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 57.765 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $57.38 and its 200-day moving average price is $54.46. The firm has a market cap of $450.13 billion, a PE ratio of 27.507 and a beta of 1.09. Microsoft Corp. has a 12-month low of $47.02 and a 12-month high of $58.70.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 17th will be issued a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 15th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.73%. This is an increase from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. Microsoft Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 70.24%.
In other Microsoft Corp. news, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,500,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.94, for a total transaction of $139,850,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Satya Nadella sold 143,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.97, for a total transaction of $8,289,710.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,200,822 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $69,611,651.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.76% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. McQueen Ball & Associates Inc. increased its position in Microsoft Corp. by 0.3% in the first quarter. McQueen Ball & Associates Inc. now owns 8,429 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $466,000 after buying an additional 25 shares during the period. Gillespie Robinson & Grimm Inc. increased its position in Microsoft Corp. by 33.4% in the first quarter. Gillespie Robinson & Grimm Inc. now owns 14,368 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $800,000 after buying an additional 3,601 shares during the period. Country Trust Bank increased its position in Microsoft Corp. by 7.0% in the first quarter. Country Trust Bank now owns 694,033 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $38,331,000 after buying an additional 45,671 shares during the period. Sigma Planning Corp increased its position in Microsoft Corp. by 23.7% in the first quarter. Sigma Planning Corp now owns 101,845 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $5,625,000 after buying an additional 19,501 shares during the period. Finally, V Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Microsoft Corp. during the first quarter valued at approximately $552,000. 71.69% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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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