Microsoft (MSFT) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Shares of Microsoft, a software company, have outperformed the industry it belongs to in a year. The company is dealing with the recent security bug which poses a huge risk for users. In this context, it is rolling out patches to fix Windows kernels in order to address the vulnerability. Additionally, Microsoft’s recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. We expect rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. 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. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a headwind.”
Several other research firms have also commented on MSFT. Royal Bank of Canada reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $88.00 price objective (up from $85.00) on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Friday, October 27th. UBS Group set a $105.00 target price on Microsoft and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Vetr lowered Microsoft from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $93.77 target price on the stock. in a research report on Monday, December 11th. KeyCorp reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 target price on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Citigroup boosted their price objective on Microsoft from $74.00 to $79.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and thirty-one have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Microsoft has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $86.97.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The software giant reported $0.84 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.12. Microsoft had a return on equity of 35.23% and a net margin of 24.56%. The company had revenue of $24.50 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $23.57 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.76 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 11.7% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts predict that Microsoft will post 3.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.
In other news, EVP Christopher C. Capossela sold 4,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.46, for a total transaction of $333,840.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 189,278 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,797,141.88. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Frank H. Brod sold 15,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction 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 transaction, the insider now owns 116,205 shares in the company, valued at $9,770,516.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 45,000 shares of company stock worth $3,759,420. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. grew its stake in shares of Microsoft by 4.7% during the second quarter. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. now owns 643 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $9,331,000 after purchasing an additional 29 shares during the last quarter. Sun Life Financial INC acquired a new stake in Microsoft in the first quarter worth $45,178,000. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its holdings in Microsoft by 300.0% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,600 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $110,000 after purchasing an additional 1,200 shares during the period. Hefty Wealth Partners raised its holdings in Microsoft by 65.6% in the second quarter. Hefty Wealth Partners now owns 1,648 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $113,000 after purchasing an additional 653 shares during the period. Finally, Asset Planning Services Ltd. raised its holdings in Microsoft by 93.0% in the first quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. now owns 1,737 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $114,000 after purchasing an additional 837 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.19% of the company’s stock.
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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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