Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday, December 26th. Zacks Investment Research currently has $96.00 price objective on the software giant’s stock.
According to Zacks, “Microsoft shares have outperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis. We expect rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. This along with lower spending will drive operating margin expansion in fiscal 2018. 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. Additionally, Microsoft’s recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a headwind. Additionally, declining PC shipments doesn't bode well for the company.”
Several other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the company. ValuEngine raised Microsoft from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, September 6th. Morningstar reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of Microsoft in a report on Monday, October 16th. Evercore ISI lifted their target price on Microsoft from $93.00 to $106.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Friday, December 8th. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of Microsoft in a report on Thursday, August 31st. Finally, UBS Group set a $105.00 target price on Microsoft and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, November 9th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and thirty-one have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $86.97.
Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at $89.60 on Tuesday. Microsoft has a 52 week low of $62.03 and a 52 week high of $89.78. The company has a market capitalization of $691,230.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.27, a PEG ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.99. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 3.06 and a current ratio of 3.12.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The software giant reported $0.84 earnings per share for the quarter, topping 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 during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $23.57 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.76 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.7% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Microsoft will post 3.39 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 8th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 15th will be given a $0.42 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, February 14th. This represents a $1.68 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.88%. Microsoft’s payout ratio is currently 56.76%.
In other news, EVP Christopher C. Capossela sold 4,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 10th. The stock was 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 of the company’s stock, valued at $15,797,141.88. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Frank H. Brod sold 18,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.15, for a total value of $1,496,700.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 45,000 shares of company stock valued at $3,759,420 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. grew its stake in shares of Microsoft by 4.7% in the second quarter. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. now owns 643 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $9,331,000 after acquiring an additional 29 shares during the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC grew its stake in shares of 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 acquiring an additional 1,200 shares during the last quarter. Hefty Wealth Partners grew its stake in shares of 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 acquiring an additional 653 shares during the last quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC grew its stake in shares of Microsoft by 23.5% in the second quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC now owns 2,033 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $140,000 after acquiring an additional 387 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Opera Trading Capital grew its stake in shares of Microsoft by 1,522.0% in the second quarter. Opera Trading Capital now owns 2,433 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $168,000 after acquiring an additional 2,283 shares during the last quarter. 73.16% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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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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