Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the target of unusually large options trading on Wednesday. Traders acquired 48,869 call options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 151% compared to the typical daily volume of 19,447 call options.

MSFT has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $87.00 price objective on Microsoft Corporation and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $76.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Friday, September 15th. Evercore ISI reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Friday, August 18th. Morningstar, Inc. reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Monday, May 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and thirty have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $76.72.

In other Microsoft Corporation news, insider G Mason Morfit sold 7,000,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.56, for a total value of $507,920,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CFO Amy Hood sold 55,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.71, for a total value of $3,999,050.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 510,217 shares in the company, valued at approximately $37,097,878.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 7,108,526 shares of company stock worth $515,879,974. Insiders own 2.99% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in MSFT. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 212.3% during the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 69,663,044 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $4,801,874,000 after buying an additional 47,353,245 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 609.4% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 49,174,883 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $3,389,625,000 after buying an additional 42,243,011 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 4.6% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 564,052,011 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $38,880,105,000 after buying an additional 25,053,413 shares during the period. Tiger Global Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 395.2% during the second quarter. Tiger Global Management LLC now owns 10,487,500 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $722,903,000 after buying an additional 8,369,500 shares during the period. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC boosted its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 32.5% during the second quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 19,139,433 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,319,271,000 after buying an additional 4,699,588 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.40% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ MSFT) opened at 74.41 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $573.12 billion, a PE ratio of 27.46 and a beta of 1.00. Microsoft Corporation has a 12-month low of $56.32 and a 12-month high of $75.97. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $73.41 and a 200 day moving average price of $69.80.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 20th. The software giant reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.27. Microsoft Corporation had a return on equity of 36.81% and a net margin of 23.57%. The business had revenue of $24.70 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $24.29 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.69 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Microsoft Corporation will post $3.18 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 14th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 16th will be given a dividend of $0.42 per share. This represents a $1.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.26%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 15th. This is a positive change from Microsoft Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. Microsoft Corporation’s payout ratio is 57.78%.

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About Microsoft Corporation

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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