AFT Forsyth & Company Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) by 2.2% during the third quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 24,591 shares of the software giant’s stock after acquiring an additional 530 shares during the quarter. Microsoft accounts for about 3.7% of AFT Forsyth & Company Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 4th largest position. AFT Forsyth & Company Inc.’s holdings in Microsoft were worth $6,933,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the business. State Street Corp grew its holdings in Microsoft by 0.8% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 294,824,958 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $79,868,081,000 after acquiring an additional 2,249,303 shares during the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD grew its holdings in Microsoft by 7.6% during the 2nd quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 192,408,922 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $52,123,577,000 after acquiring an additional 13,584,306 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in Microsoft by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 123,322,145 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $33,314,811,000 after acquiring an additional 3,090,751 shares during the last quarter. Capital International Investors grew its holdings in Microsoft by 3.0% during the 2nd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 92,898,047 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $25,166,309,000 after acquiring an additional 2,669,080 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted its stake in shares of Microsoft by 4.3% in the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 68,123,020 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $18,454,527,000 after purchasing an additional 2,783,534 shares during the last quarter. 69.01% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
A number of equities research analysts have recently commented on MSFT shares. Evercore ISI upped their price objective on shares of Microsoft from $325.00 to $370.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 27th. Jefferies Financial Group upped their price objective on shares of Microsoft from $375.00 to $400.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 6th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft started coverage on shares of Microsoft in a research note on Monday, November 1st. They issued a “buy” rating and a $390.00 price objective on the stock. Barclays increased their target price on shares of Microsoft from $345.00 to $363.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 27th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada increased their target price on shares of Microsoft from $360.00 to $380.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, thirty-three have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $351.34.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its earnings results on Monday, October 25th. The software giant reported $2.27 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.08 by $0.19. The company had revenue of $45.32 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $44 billion. Microsoft had a net margin of 38.51% and a return on equity of 45.80%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 22.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.82 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts expect that Microsoft Co. will post 9.13 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 10th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 17th will be issued a $0.62 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, February 16th. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.80%. Microsoft’s dividend payout ratio is currently 27.74%.
In related news, insider Bradford L. Smith sold 55,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $328.60, for a total transaction of $18,073,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Judson Althoff sold 54,757 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $332.28, for a total transaction of $18,194,655.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 530,699 shares of company stock valued at $181,312,457. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Microsoft Corp. engages in the development and support of software, services, devices, and solutions. It operates through the following business segments: Productivity and Business Processes; Intelligent Cloud; and More Personal Computing. The Productivity and Business Processes segment comprises products and services in the portfolio of productivity, communication, and information services of the company spanning a variety of devices and platform.
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