Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the recipient of unusually large options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders bought 108,447 call options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 146% compared to the average volume of 44,047 call options.

In related news, insider G Mason Morfit sold 7,000,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.85, for a total transaction of $481,950,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,500,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.40, for a total transaction of $173,500,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 12,060,786 shares of company stock worth $831,893,332. 2.99% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. PBWM Holdings LLC increased its stake in shares of Microsoft by 26.8% in the third quarter. PBWM Holdings LLC now owns 21,271 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,225,000 after buying an additional 4,497 shares during the last quarter. Confluence Investment Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Microsoft by 3.1% in the third quarter. Confluence Investment Management LLC now owns 1,357,465 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $78,190,000 after buying an additional 41,077 shares during the last quarter. Cidel Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Microsoft by 5.4% in the third quarter. Cidel Asset Management Inc. now owns 328,628 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $18,929,000 after buying an additional 16,758 shares during the last quarter. Sigma Planning Corp increased its stake in shares of Microsoft by 2.7% in the third quarter. Sigma Planning Corp now owns 105,869 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $6,098,000 after buying an additional 2,814 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Rikoon Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Microsoft during the third quarter valued at about $1,652,000. Institutional investors own 72.29% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) opened at 71.76 on Friday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $68.21 and a 200 day moving average of $64.55. Microsoft has a 12-month low of $48.04 and a 12-month high of $71.86. The firm has a market capitalization of $554.02 billion, a PE ratio of 31.67 and a beta of 1.08.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The software giant reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.04. Microsoft had a return on equity of 32.12% and a net margin of 19.57%. The company had revenue of $23.56 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $23.62 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.62 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Microsoft will post $3.03 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 8th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, May 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.39 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, May 16th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.17%. Microsoft’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 73.59%.

MSFT has been the subject of a number of research reports. Vetr cut shares of Microsoft from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $67.56 target price for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, March 8th. Raymond James Financial, Inc. restated a “strong-buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price (up previously from $73.00) on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Monday, May 1st. Pacific Crest restated a “buy” rating and set a $78.00 target price (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Friday, April 28th. Cowen and Company lifted their target price on shares of Microsoft from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, April 28th. Finally, Barclays PLC lifted their target price on shares of Microsoft from $71.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, April 28th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating, twenty-five have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $69.51.

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Microsoft Company Profile

Microsoft Corporation is a technology company. The Company develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products, services and devices. The Company’s segments include Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud and More Personal Computing. The Company’s 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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