Trade Report: Today, Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to “Buy”

Today, Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to “Buy”

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Thursday. The firm presently has a $64.00 price objective on the software giant’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would indicate a potential upside of 11.46% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Microsoft is one of the largest software companies in the world. It is also one of the leading providers of cloud infrastructure and services. The business reorganization and “cloud-first mobile-first” focus are encouraging, but execution and FX risks remain. Additionally, competition is stiff and the company’s dominant position in the PC market continues to be challenged. Meanwhile, estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Moreover, enterprise strength, the Office 365 subscription model, Azure and promising new products will continue to generate sizeable cash flows with Windows 10 helping maintain consumer share this year and driving enterprise growth in 2016. Additionally, the expansion of Microsoft HoloLens in 6 new markets will improve the company's posiition in the augmented and virtual reality space.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $57.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research report on Sunday, July 17th. Nomura reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note on Sunday, July 17th. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $69.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a “hold” rating and set a $50.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note on Monday, July 18th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reissued a “hold” rating and set a $55.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and twenty-one have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $59.62.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 57.42 on Thursday. Microsoft Corp. has a 52 week low of $47.02 and a 52 week high of $58.70. The stock has a market cap of $447.45 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.34 and a beta of 1.09. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $57.40 and its 200 day moving average is $54.45.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 17th will be paid a $0.39 dividend. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.72%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 15th. This is an increase from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. Microsoft Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 70.24%.

In other Microsoft Corp. news, CFO Amy Hood sold 120,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.86, for a total transaction of $6,943,200.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 523,425 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,285,370.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Satya Nadella sold 143,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.97, for a total transaction of $8,289,710.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,200,822 shares in the company, valued at approximately $69,611,651.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 3.76% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MSFT. Invictus RG purchased a new position in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the first quarter worth about $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 worth $122,000 after buying an additional 147 shares during the last quarter. 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 worth $130,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the last quarter. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the third quarter worth about $130,000. Finally, 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 worth $164,000 after buying an additional 44 shares during the last quarter. 71.69% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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