Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Buy
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Thursday. The firm currently has a $64.00 price objective on the software giant’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 12.06% from the stock’s current price.
According to Zacks, “Microsoft is one of the largest software companies in the world. It is also one of the leading providers of cloud infrastructure and services. The business reorganization and “cloud-first mobile-first” focus are encouraging, but execution and FX risks remain. Additionally, competition is stiff and the company’s dominant position in the PC market continues to be challenged. Meanwhile, estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Moreover, enterprise strength, the Office 365 subscription model, Azure and promising new products will continue to generate sizeable cash flows with Windows 10 helping maintain consumer share this year and driving enterprise growth in 2016. Additionally, the expansion of Microsoft HoloLens in 6 new markets will improve the company's posiition in the augmented and virtual reality space.”
MSFT has been the subject of a number of other reports. Vetr raised shares of Microsoft Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $57.32 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, July 5th. Wunderlich upped their target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $68.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, June 27th. Nomura reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note on Thursday, July 28th. Finally, Credit Agricole SA reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $60.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note on Wednesday, October 5th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and twenty-one have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $59.55.
Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 57.11 on Thursday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $57.45 and a 200 day moving average price of $54.41. The firm has a market cap of $445.03 billion, a PE ratio of 27.20 and a beta of 1.09. Microsoft Corp. has a 12 month low of $46.53 and a 12 month high of $58.70.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 19th. The software giant reported $0.69 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.11. The firm earned $22.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $22.15 billion. Microsoft Corp. had a net margin of 19.33% and a return on equity of 29.38%. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.60 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Microsoft Corp. will post $2.89 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 17th will be given a dividend of $0.39 per share. This is a positive change from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 15th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.73%. Microsoft Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 70.24%.
In related news, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,500,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.94, for a total transaction of $139,850,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO Amy Hood sold 120,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.86, for a total transaction of $6,943,200.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 523,425 shares in the company, valued at approximately $30,285,370.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 3.76% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Invictus RG purchased a new stake in Microsoft Corp. during the first quarter valued at about $107,000. Riggs Asset Managment Co. Inc. raised its stake in Microsoft Corp. by 6.6% in the second quarter. Riggs Asset Managment Co. Inc. now owns 2,375 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 147 shares in the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc raised its stake in Microsoft Corp. by 9.0% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 2,535 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $130,000 after buying an additional 210 shares in the last quarter. Lowe fs LLC raised its stake in Microsoft Corp. by 1.4% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 3,206 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $164,000 after buying an additional 44 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Northstar Group Inc. raised its stake in Microsoft Corp. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Northstar Group Inc. now owns 3,953 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $202,000 after buying an additional 14 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.58% of the company’s stock.
About Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft Corporation is a technology company. The Company develops, licenses and supports a range of software products, services and devices. Its segments are Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing. Its 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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