Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was upgraded by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $68.00 price objective on the software giant’s stock, up from their prior price objective of $60.00. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s target price indicates a potential upside of 12.68% from the stock’s previous close.

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on MSFT. Vetr raised Microsoft Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.17 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, October 26th. Cowen and Company restated an “outperform” rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Thursday, October 27th. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Monday, November 7th. Atlantic Securities upgraded Microsoft Corp. from an “underweight” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, November 10th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. restated a “sell” rating and set a $41.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a report on Sunday, October 23rd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twenty-three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $62.24.

Analyst Recommendations for Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 60.35 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $469.24 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.90 and a beta of 1.16. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $58.82 and a 200-day moving average of $55.41. Microsoft Corp. has a one year low of $48.03 and a one year high of $61.37.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 20th. The software giant reported $0.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.68 by $0.08. The firm earned $22.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $21.71 billion. Microsoft Corp. had a return on equity of 30.92% and a net margin of 19.40%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.67 EPS. On average, analysts anticipate that Microsoft Corp. will post $2.97 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 8th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 17th will be issued a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 15th. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.58%. This is an increase from Microsoft Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. Microsoft Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 75.00%.

In other news, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,700,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.99, for a total transaction of $164,673,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Frank H. Brod sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred 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 owns 121,508 shares in the company, valued at $7,354,879.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 2.99% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Invictus RG bought a new stake in shares of Microsoft Corp. during the first quarter worth $107,000. Riggs Asset Managment Co. Inc. boosted its stake in 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 valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 147 shares in the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc boosted its stake in Microsoft Corp. by 9.0% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 2,535 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $130,000 after buying an additional 210 shares in the last quarter. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Microsoft Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $130,000. Finally, Northstar Group Inc. boosted its stake in Microsoft Corp. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Northstar Group Inc. now owns 3,953 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $202,000 after buying an additional 14 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.81% of the company’s stock.

Microsoft Corp. Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:MSFT

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