Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to Hold
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a 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.”
A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on MSFT. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $68.00 price objective on Microsoft Corp. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 15th. Jefferies Group set a $40.00 price target on Microsoft Corp. and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 27th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Friday, July 22nd. Argus reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Monday, July 25th. Finally, Independent Research GmbH set a $50.00 price target on Microsoft Corp. and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, July 21st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and twenty have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $59.62.
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Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 57.22 on Tuesday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $57.38 and a 200-day moving average price of $54.46. Microsoft Corp. has a 52-week low of $47.02 and a 52-week high of $58.70. The firm has a market cap of $445.89 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.25 and a beta of 1.09.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 17th will be given a dividend of $0.39 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 15th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.73%. This is a boost from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. Microsoft Corp.’s payout ratio is currently 70.24%.
In related news, CFO Amy Hood sold 120,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.86, for a total transaction of $6,943,200.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 523,425 shares in the company, valued at $30,285,370.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,500,000 shares of the business’s 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 3.76% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MSFT. Invictus RG bought a new position in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the first quarter valued at about $107,000. Riggs Asset Managment Co. Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 6.6% in the second quarter. Riggs Asset Managment Co. Inc. now owns 2,375 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $122,000 after buying an additional 147 shares during the period. Roble Belko & Company Inc boosted its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 9.0% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 2,535 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $130,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the period. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the third quarter worth $130,000. Finally, Lowe fs LLC boosted its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 1.4% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 3,206 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $164,000 after buying an additional 44 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 71.69% of the company’s stock.
About Microsoft Corp.
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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