Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Microsoft reported impressive first-quarter fiscal 2018 results driven by rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365. We expect these 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.com, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are positive for the company's growth prospects. Microsoft recently launched Xbox One X with a strong game line-up. Considering the record pre-orders, we believe that the latest console has significant growth potential. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a major headwind. Additionally, declining PC shipments doesn't bode well for the company. Microsoft has underperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis.”

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on MSFT. UBS AG set a $105.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corporation and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Thursday. Tigress Financial reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $100.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Vetr raised shares of Microsoft Corporation from a sell rating to a hold rating and set a $82.07 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 31st. Finally, Argus raised shares of Microsoft Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $57.28 to $95.00 in a research report on Tuesday, October 31st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and twenty-nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. Microsoft Corporation currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $83.64.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ MSFT) traded down $0.22 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $83.87. 19,397,700 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 23,069,730. The company has a current ratio of 3.12, a quick ratio of 3.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.91. The company has a market capitalization of $647,022.69, a P/E ratio of 24.81, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 1.01. Microsoft Corporation has a one year low of $57.28 and a one year high of $86.20.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The software giant reported $0.84 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.12. Microsoft Corporation had a net margin of 24.56% and a return on equity of 35.23%. The business had revenue of $24.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $23.57 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.76 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 11.7% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts predict that Microsoft Corporation will post 3.37 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 14th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 16th will be issued a $0.42 dividend. This represents a $1.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.00%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 15th. This is a positive change from Microsoft Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. Microsoft Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 53.06%.

In other news, CFO Amy Hood sold 55,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.71, for a total value of $3,999,050.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 510,217 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $37,097,878.07. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Frank H. Brod sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $84.08, for a total transaction of $1,261,200.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 116,205 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,770,516.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 96,763 shares of company stock worth $7,240,712. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 4.6% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 564,052,011 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $38,880,105,000 after purchasing an additional 25,053,413 shares during the period. State Street Corp lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 0.8% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 318,681,830 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $20,988,383,000 after acquiring an additional 2,552,473 shares during the period. Capital Research Global Investors lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 212.3% during the 2nd quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 69,663,044 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $4,801,874,000 after acquiring an additional 47,353,245 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 609.4% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 49,174,883 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $3,389,625,000 after acquiring an additional 42,243,011 shares during the period. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc lifted its position in Microsoft Corporation by 2.1% during the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 38,463,571 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $2,864,881,000 after acquiring an additional 774,549 shares during the period. 73.37% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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