The Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to Hold

The Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Microsoft's continuing enterprise strength, benefits from the Office 365 subscription model, strong growth prospects of Azure and promising new products will continue to generate top-line growth going ahead. Further, the completion of the LinkedIn acquisition is expected to boost Microsoft's presence in the social media market. The deal will also strenghthen the company's enterprise business. The recent defense deal win is signficantly positive in our view. We note that the company has outperfomed the broader market over the last 12 months. Notably, estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company's Q2 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. However, despite the cloud focus, we believe execution and foreign exchange risks remain. Additionally, competition is stiff and the company’s dominant position in the PC market continues to be challenged.”

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on the company. Jefferies Group set a $40.00 target price on Microsoft Corp. and gave the company a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 27th. Wells Fargo & Co. began coverage on Microsoft Corp. in a research report on Wednesday, January 11th. They set an outperform rating on the stock. Vetr upgraded Microsoft Corp. from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $63.17 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, October 26th. Cowen and Company reiterated an outperform rating and set a $60.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research report on Friday, September 30th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded Microsoft Corp. from a neutral rating to a buy rating and increased their target price for the company from $60.00 to $68.00 in a research report on Sunday, December 4th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and twenty-seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $63.89.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 62.50 on Friday. Microsoft Corp. has a 1-year low of $48.03 and a 1-year high of $64.10. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $62.23 and its 200 day moving average is $58.68. The stock has a market capitalization of $485.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.93 and a beta of 1.13.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 9th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 16th will be given a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 14th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.50%. Microsoft Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 75.00%.

In other news, insider Frank H. Brod sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.53, for a total value of $302,650.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 121,508 shares in the company, valued at $7,354,879.24. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christopher C. Capossela sold 12,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.57, for a total value of $714,840.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 265,306 shares in the company, valued at $15,804,278.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 2.99% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 504,208,409 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $25,800,344,000 after buying an additional 8,371,988 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors increased its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 2.6% in the third quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 327,458,996 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $18,861,638,000 after buying an additional 8,226,654 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 0.8% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 205,994,090 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $11,865,260,000 after buying an additional 1,658,359 shares in the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD increased its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 0.3% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 178,592,140 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $10,286,907,000 after buying an additional 517,111 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 1.0% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 119,567,792 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $6,887,104,000 after buying an additional 1,223,999 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.73% of the company’s stock.

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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