Weekly Research Analysts’ Ratings Changes for Microsoft (MSFT)

A number of firms have modified their ratings and price targets on shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) recently:

  • 1/3/2018 – Microsoft was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Microsoft shares have outperformed the industry it belongs to over the past one year. We expect rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. This along with lower spending will drive operating margin expansion in fiscal 2018. We believe that collaborations with the likes of Amazon, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are positive for the company's growth prospects. We also believe that Microsoft’s strategic initiatives to enter the augmented reality and virtual reality market with the acquisition of Altspace VR and launch of mixed reality headsets will be positives. Additionally, Microsoft’s recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a headwind. Additionally, declining PC shipments doesn't bode well for the company.”
  • 1/1/2018 – Microsoft was given a new $100.00 price target on by analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc.. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 12/31/2017 – Microsoft was upgraded by analysts at ValuEngine from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating.
  • 12/26/2017 – Microsoft was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $96.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Microsoft shares have outperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis. We expect rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. This along with lower spending will drive operating margin expansion in fiscal 2018. We believe that collaborations with the likes of Amazon, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are positive for the company's growth prospects. We also believe that Microsoft’s strategic initiatives to enter the augmented reality and virtual reality market with the acquisition of Altspace VR and launch of mixed reality headsets will be positives. Additionally, Microsoft’s recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a headwind. Additionally, declining PC shipments doesn't bode well for the company.”
  • 12/26/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $100.00 price target on by analysts at Royal Bank of Canada. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 12/26/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $100.00 price target on by analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc.. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 12/20/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $100.00 price target on by analysts at Royal Bank of Canada. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 12/20/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $100.00 price target on by analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc.. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 12/11/2017 – Microsoft was downgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $93.77 price target on the stock.
  • 12/8/2017 – Microsoft had its price target raised by analysts at Evercore ISI from $93.00 to $106.00. They now have an “outperform” rating on the stock.
  • 12/8/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $105.00 price target on by analysts at UBS Group AG. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 12/7/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $100.00 price target on by analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 12/4/2017 – Microsoft was upgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating. They now have a $94.25 price target on the stock.
  • 11/27/2017 – Microsoft had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Piper Jaffray Companies. They now have a $100.00 price target on the stock.
  • 11/16/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $92.00 price target on by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 11/15/2017 – Microsoft had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein. They now have a $100.00 price target on the stock.
  • 11/13/2017 – Microsoft was upgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $90.36 price target on the stock.
  • 11/10/2017 – Microsoft was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Microsoft reported impressive first-quarter fiscal 2018 results driven by rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365. We expect these to remain the key catalysts in the near future. This along with lower spending will drive operating margin expansion in fiscal 2018. We believe that collaborations with the likes of Amazon.com, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are positive for the company's growth prospects. Microsoft recently launched Xbox One X with a strong game line-up. Considering the record pre-orders, we believe that the latest console has significant growth potential. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a major headwind. Additionally, declining PC shipments doesn't bode well for the company. Microsoft has underperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis.”
  • 11/9/2017 – Microsoft was given a new $105.00 price target on by analysts at UBS Group AG. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 11/7/2017 – Microsoft had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Tigress Financial.

Shares of Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ MSFT) traded up $0.40 during trading on Thursday, reaching $86.35. 26,060,002 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 24,271,852. The company has a current ratio of 3.12, a quick ratio of 3.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.91. Microsoft Co. has a 12-month low of $61.95 and a 12-month high of $87.50. The stock has a market cap of $673,280.00, a PE ratio of 29.17, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.00 and a beta of 0.99.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The software giant reported $0.84 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.72 by $0.12. Microsoft had a net margin of 24.56% and a return on equity of 35.23%. The firm had revenue of $24.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $23.57 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.76 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 11.7% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that Microsoft Co. will post 3.38 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 8th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 15th will be given a $0.42 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 14th. This represents a $1.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.95%. Microsoft’s payout ratio is currently 56.76%.

In other Microsoft news, EVP Christopher C. Capossela sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.48, for a total value of $333,920.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 185,278 shares in the company, valued at $15,467,007.44. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Frank H. Brod sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.08, for a total transaction of $1,261,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 116,205 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,770,516.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 45,000 shares of company stock valued at $3,759,420. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

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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