Microsoft (MSFT) Upgraded to Outperform by Macquarie

Macquarie upgraded shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) from a neutral rating to an outperform rating in a research note published on Friday morning, Marketbeat reports. They currently have $121.00 price objective on the software giant’s stock.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $125.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Monday, September 10th. Nomura set a $118.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 20th. Atlantic Securities raised shares of Microsoft from a neutral rating to an overweight rating in a research report on Monday, June 25th. Wells Fargo & Co set a $120.00 price target on shares of Microsoft and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 20th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein set a $135.00 price target on shares of Microsoft and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 20th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, thirty-one have assigned a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $120.60.

Shares of Microsoft stock traded up $3.66 during trading on Friday, hitting $109.57. 46,717,564 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 28,720,928. The stock has a market cap of $880.63 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.24, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 1.28. Microsoft has a 12-month low of $77.25 and a 12-month high of $116.18. The company has a current ratio of 2.90, a quick ratio of 2.86 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 19th. The software giant reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $30.09 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $29.23 billion. Microsoft had a net margin of 15.02% and a return on equity of 36.69%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 17.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.75 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Microsoft will post 4.25 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 13th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 15th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 14th. This is a positive change from Microsoft’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.42. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.68%. Microsoft’s payout ratio is currently 43.30%.

In other Microsoft news, EVP Kathleen T. Hogan sold 40,000 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.31, for a total value of $4,452,400.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 339,972 shares in the company, valued at $37,842,283.32. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Jean Philippe Courtois sold 28,941 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $109.00, for a total transaction of $3,154,569.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 529,721 shares in the company, valued at $57,739,589. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 650,042 shares of company stock worth $71,264,850. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MSFT. Osterweis Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 40.2% in the first quarter. Osterweis Capital Management Inc. now owns 427,300 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $39,000,000 after purchasing an additional 122,615 shares in the last quarter. Skye Global Management LP lifted its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 174.8% in the first quarter. Skye Global Management LP now owns 1,998,900 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $182,440,000 after purchasing an additional 1,271,400 shares in the last quarter. HC Financial Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Microsoft in the fourth quarter valued at about $2,206,000. FCG Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 19.6% in the first quarter. FCG Advisors LLC now owns 25,098 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $2,291,000 after purchasing an additional 4,111 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Summit Trail Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 5,931.9% in the first quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC now owns 4,562,204 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $4,562,000 after purchasing an additional 4,486,569 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 71.80% of the company’s stock.

Microsoft Company Profile

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports software, services, devices, and solutions worldwide. Its company's Productivity and Business Processes segment offers Office 365 commercial products and services for businesses, such as Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and related Client Access Licenses (CALs); Office 365 consumer services, including Skype, Outlook.com, and OneDrive; LinkedIn online professional network; and Dynamics business solutions comprising financial management, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, supply chain management, and analytics applications for small and medium businesses, large organizations, and divisions of enterprises.

Further Reading: How Do You Calculate Return on Equity (ROE)?

Analyst Recommendations for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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