Microsoft (MSFT) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Monday morning. They currently have $106.00 price objective on the software giant’s stock.
According to Zacks, “Microsoft reported stellar second-quarter results. Both earnings and revenues increased year over year, due to strategic growth investments in cloud business and AI along with robust sales implementation. LinkedIn contributed 4 points of revenue growth. The company recently unveiled Surface LTE and a new generation of Windows 10 PCs from its OEM partners. Also, Microsoft’s recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. We expect rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. Azure has been selected by the likes of United Technologies and Columbia Sportswear. 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 will be positives.”
A number of other research firms have also issued reports on MSFT. KeyCorp boosted their price objective on Microsoft from $106.00 to $110.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, February 1st. Royal Bank of Canada restated an outperform rating and set a $88.00 price objective (up previously from $85.00) on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Friday, October 27th. UBS Group set a $105.00 price objective on Microsoft and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Vetr lowered Microsoft from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $93.77 price objective for the company. in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Finally, Citigroup boosted their price objective on Microsoft from $74.00 to $79.00 and gave the company a sell rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and thirty-one have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Microsoft has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $99.09.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 31st. The software giant reported $0.96 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.09. Microsoft had a return on equity of 35.41% and a net margin of 11.72%. The business had revenue of $28.92 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $28.42 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.83 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.9% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Microsoft will post 3.62 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 8th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 15th will be issued a $0.42 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 14th. This represents a $1.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.87%. Microsoft’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 114.29%.
In other news, EVP Christopher C. Capossela sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.48, for a total value of $333,920.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 185,278 shares in the company, valued at $15,467,007.44. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Frank H. Brod sold 18,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 4th. The stock was 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. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 30,000 shares of company stock valued at $2,498,220. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MSFT. Kohmann Bosshard Financial Services LLC acquired a new position in Microsoft during the fourth quarter valued at $103,000. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its position in Microsoft by 300.0% during the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,600 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $110,000 after buying an additional 1,200 shares during the period. First Dallas Securities Inc. acquired a new position in Microsoft during the fourth quarter valued at $123,000. Cerebellum GP LLC acquired a new position in Microsoft during the fourth quarter valued at $134,000. Finally, Stelac Advisory Services LLC raised its position in Microsoft by 23.5% during the second quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC now owns 2,033 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $140,000 after buying an additional 387 shares during the period. 73.22% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
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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