Equities research analysts at Wells Fargo & Company started coverage on shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm set an “outperform” rating on the software giant’s stock.

A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on MSFT. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. set a $65.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 24th. Vetr upgraded shares of Microsoft Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $59.95 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, October 11th. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a report on Monday, November 7th. Macquarie restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a report on Friday, September 23rd. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $60.00 target price (up previously from $57.00) on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a report on Friday, October 21st. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and twenty-six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $63.68.

Analyst Recommendations for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 62.62 on Wednesday. The company has a market cap of $486.89 billion, a PE ratio of 29.99 and a beta of 1.13. Microsoft Corporation has a one year low of $48.03 and a one year high of $64.10. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $61.81 and its 200-day moving average price is $57.95.

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 20th. The software giant reported $0.76 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.08. Microsoft Corporation had a net margin of 19.40% and a return on equity of 30.92%. The firm had revenue of $22.30 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $21.71 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.67 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that Microsoft Corporation will post $2.98 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 9th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.39 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 14th. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.49%. Microsoft Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 75.00%.

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In other Microsoft Corporation news, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,700,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.99, for a total transaction of $164,673,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Frank H. Brod sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.53, for a total transaction of $302,650.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 121,508 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,354,879.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 2.99% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in MSFT. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation during the fourth quarter worth approximately $3,689,539,000. Jennison Associates LLC boosted its stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 300.9% in the fourth quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 23,835,668 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $1,322,403,000 after buying an additional 17,890,575 shares in the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company acquired a new stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation during the third quarter worth approximately $907,517,000. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. acquired a new stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation during the second quarter worth approximately $699,840,000. Finally, Janus Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 40.2% in the second quarter. Janus Capital Management LLC now owns 41,604,434 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $2,128,899,000 after buying an additional 11,937,675 shares in the last quarter. 70.72% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Microsoft Corporation

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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