Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) have received an average recommendation of “Buy” from the thirty-three analysts that are covering the company. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twenty have given a buy rating to the company. The average 12 month price objective among brokerages that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $58.78.

MSFT has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Vetr upgraded Microsoft Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $57.64 price objective on the stock in a report on Monday, July 11th. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $68.00 price objective on Microsoft Corp. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 15th. Citigroup Inc. boosted their target price on Microsoft Corp. from $36.00 to $37.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, July 7th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their target price on Microsoft Corp. from $58.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Saturday, June 25th.

In other news, CEO Satya Nadella sold 143,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,200,822 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $69,611,651.34. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider G Mason Morfit sold 18,000,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 28th. The stock was 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.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position 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 worth $25,800,344,000 after buying an additional 8,371,988 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 0.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 208,079,583 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $11,492,235,000 after buying an additional 1,784,020 shares during the period. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 7.8% in the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 93,704,245 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $4,794,838,000 after buying an additional 6,760,471 shares during the period. BlackRock Group LTD raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 1.5% in the second quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 66,254,544 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $3,390,245,000 after buying an additional 976,953 shares during the period. Finally, TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. by 2.1% in the second quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 47,081,885 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $2,409,180,000 after buying an additional 980,414 shares during the period. 71.58% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) traded down 0.23% on Wednesday, reaching $57.06. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 11,955,220 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $444.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.17 and a beta of 1.09. Microsoft Corp. has a 52 week low of $46.53 and a 52 week high of $58.70. The company has a 50 day moving average of $57.48 and a 200 day moving average of $54.39.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 19th. The software giant reported $0.69 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.11. Microsoft Corp. had a return on equity of 29.38% and a net margin of 19.33%. The company had revenue of $22.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $22.15 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.60 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Microsoft Corp. will post $2.89 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.39 per share. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.73%. This is a boost from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 15th. Microsoft Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 70.24%.

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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