Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Investors acquired 29,563 put options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 118% compared to the typical daily volume of 13,565 put options.

In other Microsoft Corporation news, insider Jean Philippe Courtois sold 26,763 shares of Microsoft Corporation stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.00, for a total value of $1,980,462.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 544,080 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $40,261,920. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider G Mason Morfit sold 7,000,000 shares of Microsoft Corporation stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.56, for a total transaction of $507,920,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 7,108,526 shares of company stock worth $515,879,974. Insiders own 2.99% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 4.7% in the 2nd quarter. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. now owns 643 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $9,331,000 after buying an additional 29 shares during the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 300.0% in the 2nd quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,600 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $110,000 after buying an additional 1,200 shares during the last quarter. Hefty Wealth Partners lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 65.6% in the 2nd quarter. Hefty Wealth Partners now owns 1,648 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 653 shares during the last quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 93.0% in the 1st quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. now owns 1,737 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $114,000 after buying an additional 837 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ullmann Financial Group Inc. bought a new stake in Microsoft Corporation in the 1st quarter worth approximately $132,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts have weighed in on MSFT shares. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $87.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corporation and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 21st. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $76.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Friday, September 15th. Evercore ISI reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Friday, August 18th. Morningstar, Inc. reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Monday, May 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and thirty have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Microsoft Corporation has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $76.72.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ MSFT) opened at 74.41 on Monday. Microsoft Corporation has a 1-year low of $56.32 and a 1-year high of $75.97. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $73.41 and a 200 day moving average price of $69.80. The firm has a market cap of $573.12 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.46 and a beta of 1.00.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 20th. The software giant reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.27. The firm had revenue of $24.70 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $24.29 billion. Microsoft Corporation had a return on equity of 36.81% and a net margin of 23.57%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.69 EPS. On average, analysts anticipate that Microsoft Corporation will post $3.18 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 16th will be given a dividend of $0.42 per share. This represents a $1.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.26%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 15th. This is an increase from Microsoft Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. Microsoft Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 57.78%.

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About Microsoft Corporation

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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