Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been assigned a $80.00 target price by equities research analysts at Morgan Stanley in a research note issued on Monday. The firm presently has a “buy” rating on the software giant’s stock. Morgan Stanley’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 14.29% from the stock’s current price.

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on MSFT. Global Equities Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $75.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Tuesday, June 13th. Bank of America Corporation reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $75.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Friday. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $76.00 price target on Microsoft Corporation and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 9th. Vetr raised Microsoft Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $74.61 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, June 12th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $76.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Friday. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating, twenty-six have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Microsoft Corporation presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $70.21.

Analyst Recommendations for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ MSFT) traded up 1.13% on Monday, hitting $70.79. 1,009,587 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $69.62 and its 200 day moving average price is $65.40. The company has a market cap of $546.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.24 and a beta of 0.99. Microsoft Corporation has a 1-year low of $48.03 and a 1-year high of $72.89.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The software giant reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.69 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $23.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $23.62 billion. Microsoft Corporation had a return on equity of 33.75% and a net margin of 20.42%. Microsoft Corporation’s revenue was up 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.62 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Microsoft Corporation will post $3.03 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 14th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 17th will be paid a $0.39 dividend. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.23%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, August 15th. Microsoft Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 69.03%.

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

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Kernodle & Katon Asset Management Group LLC raised its stake in Microsoft Corporation by 0.5% in the first quarter. Kernodle & Katon Asset Management Group LLC now owns 2,067 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the period. Northstar Group Inc. raised its stake in Microsoft Corporation by 0.3% in the first quarter. Northstar Group Inc. now owns 3,790 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $248,000 after buying an additional 12 shares during the period. Gierl Augustine Investment Management Inc raised its stake in Microsoft Corporation by 0.3% in the first quarter. Gierl Augustine Investment Management Inc now owns 4,034 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $266,000 after buying an additional 13 shares during the period. New Capital Management LP raised its stake in Microsoft Corporation by 0.5% in the first quarter. New Capital Management LP now owns 4,305 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $284,000 after buying an additional 22 shares during the period. Finally, Smith Moore & CO. raised its stake in Microsoft Corporation by 0.5% in the first quarter. Smith Moore & CO. now owns 6,487 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $427,000 after buying an additional 31 shares during the period. 72.78% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Microsoft Corporation 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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