Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) saw a significant decrease in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 44,492,443 shares, a decrease of 18.6% from the August 15th total of 54,638,378 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 18,064,823 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.5 days. Currently, 0.6% of the company’s stock are sold short.

In related news, CFO Amy Hood sold 120,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 8th. The shares were 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 owns 523,425 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $30,285,370.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider G Mason Morfit sold 18,000,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.12, for a total transaction of $1,010,160,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 3.76% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Invictus RG acquired a new position in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the first quarter valued at approximately $107,000. Riggs Asset Managment Co. Inc. increased its position in shares of 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 during the period. Roble Belko & Company Inc increased its position in shares of 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 during the period. Lowe fs LLC increased its position in shares of 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 during the period. Finally, Northstar Group Inc. increased its position in shares of 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 during the period. 71.58% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 57.76 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $450.10 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.50 and a beta of 1.08. The company’s 50 day moving average is $57.55 and its 200-day moving average is $53.96. Microsoft Corp. has a 52-week low of $43.05 and a 52-week high of $58.70.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 19th. The software giant reported $0.69 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.11. The firm had revenue of $22.60 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.15 billion. Microsoft Corp. had a return on equity of 29.38% and a net margin of 19.33%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.60 EPS. On average, equities analysts predict that Microsoft Corp. will post $2.90 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 17th will be given a $0.39 dividend. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.70%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 15th. This is an increase from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. Microsoft Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is 70.24%.

A number of research analysts recently weighed in on MSFT shares. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $40.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research report on Wednesday, May 25th. Nomura reaffirmed a “positive” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research report on Wednesday, May 25th. Pacific Crest reaffirmed an “overweight” rating on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research report on Thursday, May 26th. Canaccord Genuity started coverage on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research report on Thursday, May 26th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $55.00 target price for the company. Finally, Vetr downgraded shares of Microsoft Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $55.05 target price for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, May 31st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and twenty have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $59.25.

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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