Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the target of a large decline in short interest during the month of August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 39,423,390 shares, a decline of 14.0% from the July 31st total of 45,856,601 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 19,486,303 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.0 days. Currently, 0.5% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on MSFT. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $87.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. BidaskClub raised shares of Microsoft Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 16th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $90.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Sunday, August 27th. Evercore ISI reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Friday, August 18th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $84.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twenty-eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $76.51.

In other news, CFO Amy Hood sold 55,000 shares of Microsoft Corporation stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.71, for a total transaction of $3,999,050.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 510,217 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $37,097,878.07. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Jean Philippe Courtois sold 26,763 shares of Microsoft Corporation stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.00, for a total value of $1,980,462.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 537,519 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $39,776,406. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 7,108,526 shares of company stock valued at $515,879,974 in the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 2.99% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Ancora Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 43.7% in the fourth quarter. Ancora Advisors LLC now owns 191,529 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $11,902,000 after buying an additional 58,222 shares during the last quarter. JW Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at $3,729,000. Kovitz Investment Group Partners LLC raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. Kovitz Investment Group Partners LLC now owns 16,055 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $998,000 after buying an additional 462 shares during the last quarter. Hilltop Holdings Inc. raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Hilltop Holdings Inc. now owns 26,722 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,661,000 after buying an additional 74 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Caxton Associates LP raised its stake in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 12.9% in the fourth quarter. Caxton Associates LP now owns 659,050 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $40,953,000 after buying an additional 75,050 shares during the last quarter. 73.46% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) opened at 74.77 on Friday. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $73.02 and its 200 day moving average price is $68.86. The firm has a market capitalization of $575.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.59 and a beta of 1.01. Microsoft Corporation has a 52-week low of $55.61 and a 52-week high of $74.96.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 20th. The software giant reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.27. Microsoft Corporation had a return on equity of 36.81% and a net margin of 23.57%. The company had revenue of $24.70 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $24.29 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.69 EPS. Microsoft Corporation’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Microsoft Corporation will post $3.21 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 17th will be issued a dividend of $0.39 per share. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.09%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, August 15th. Microsoft Corporation’s payout ratio is presently 57.78%.

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Microsoft Corporation Company Profile

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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