Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) hit a new 52-week high during trading on Friday . The company traded as high as $58.70 and last traded at $57.93, with a volume of 10,269,913 shares. The stock had previously closed at $58.17.

A number of research firms recently issued reports on MSFT. Nomura reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Argus reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Monday, July 25th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $62.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Friday, July 22nd. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $56.00 price objective (up previously from $55.00) on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Friday, July 22nd. Finally, Independent Research GmbH set a $50.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, July 21st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and twenty-one have assigned a buy rating to the company. Microsoft Corp. currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $58.88.

The stock’s 50-day moving average is $56.23 and its 200-day moving average is $53.17. The company has a market cap of $450.91 billion and a PE ratio of 27.555.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 19th. The software giant reported $0.69 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.58 by $0.11. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.60 earnings per share. The business had revenue of $22.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $22.15 billion. Analysts forecast that Microsoft Corp. will post $2.89 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 8th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 18th will be given a dividend of $0.36 per share. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.48%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 16th.

In other Microsoft Corp. news, CFO Amy Hood sold 120,000 shares of Microsoft Corp. stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.86, for a total value of $6,943,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 523,425 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,285,370.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,500,000 shares of Microsoft Corp. stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.94, for a total value of $139,850,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado increased its position in Microsoft Corp. by 2.4% in the fourth quarter. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado now owns 3,977,817 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $220,689,000 after buying an additional 94,685 shares in the last quarter. Tower Bridge Advisors boosted its position in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 4.3% in the fourth quarter. Tower Bridge Advisors now owns 301,415 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $16,723,000 after buying an additional 12,498 shares during the last quarter. Formidable Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. Formidable Asset Management LLC now owns 30,560 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,651,000 after buying an additional 288 shares during the last quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC bought a new position in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the fourth quarter valued at about $40,604,000. Finally, Hudson Canyon Investment Counselors LLC bought a new position in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,381,000.

Microsoft Corporation is engaged in developing, licensing and supporting a range of software products and services. The Company also designs and sells hardware, and delivers online advertising to the customers. The Company operates in five segments: Devices and Consumer (D&C) Licensing, D&C Hardware, D&C Other, Commercial Licensing, and Commercial Other.

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