Microsoft (MSFT) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Shares of Microsoft, a software company, have outperformed the industry it belongs to over the past one year. The company is dealing with the recent security bug which poses a huge risk for users. In this context, it is rolling out patches to fix Windows kernels in order to address the vulnerability. Additionally, Microsoft’s recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. We expect rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. We believe that collaborations with the likes of Amazon, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are positive for the company's growth prospects. We also believe that Microsoft’s strategic initiatives to enter the augmented reality and virtual reality market with the acquisition of Altspace VR and launch of mixed reality headsets will be positives. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a headwind.”
Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on MSFT. Stifel Nicolaus raised their target price on Microsoft from $90.00 to $92.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Vetr cut Microsoft from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $93.54 target price on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, January 17th. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $100.00 price objective (up from $90.00) on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Friday, January 12th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $100.00 price objective on Microsoft and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday. Finally, Barclays set a $95.00 price objective on Microsoft and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, January 12th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twenty-nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $88.38.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The software giant reported $0.84 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.12. The company had revenue of $24.50 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $23.57 billion. Microsoft had a return on equity of 35.23% and a net margin of 24.56%. Microsoft’s quarterly revenue was up 11.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.76 earnings per share. analysts predict that Microsoft will post 3.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.
In other news, insider Frank H. Brod sold 18,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.15, for a total transaction of $1,496,700.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christopher C. Capossela sold 4,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.46, for a total transaction of $333,840.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 189,278 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,797,141.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 45,000 shares of company stock valued at $3,759,420. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.
Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Microsoft by 4.6% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 564,052,011 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $38,880,105,000 after buying an additional 25,053,413 shares during the period. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its holdings in Microsoft by 212.3% in the 2nd quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 69,663,044 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $4,801,874,000 after buying an additional 47,353,245 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in Microsoft by 609.4% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 49,174,883 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $3,389,625,000 after buying an additional 42,243,011 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its holdings in Microsoft by 2.1% in the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 38,463,571 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $2,864,881,000 after buying an additional 774,549 shares during the period. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its holdings in Microsoft by 3.8% in the 4th quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 31,523,813 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $2,696,444,000 after buying an additional 1,148,178 shares during the period. 73.18% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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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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