Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was upgraded by Zacks from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report issued on Thursday, Stock Ratings Network reports. The firm currently has a $38.00 price target on the stock. Zacks‘ price target points to a potential upside of 3.88% from the company’s current price.
Zacks‘ analyst wrote, “Microsoft is one of the largest software companies in the world. Its operating systems are installed on the majority of computers anywhere in the world. Fiscal first quarter 2014 earnings exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The reorganization of the business and “devices and services” model are encouraging, but execution risks are considerable. The departure of CEO Ballmer at this juncture may be a good thing, but does not alleviate near-term uncertainties. Additionally, competition remains stiff and Microsoft’s dominant position in the PC market continues to be challenged by new-age devices. However, considering the fact that the promising new products, enterprise refresh cycle and cost reduction initiatives will continue to generate sizeable cash flows, we are raising our recommendation to Neutral.”
In other Microsoft Corp. news, EVP Anthony John Bates sold 14,000 shares of the company’s stock on the open market in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.23, for a total value of $535,220.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 601,723 shares in the company, valued at approximately $23,003,870. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link.
Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) traded down 1.01% on Thursday, hitting $36.21. The stock had a trading volume of 17,351,176 shares. Microsoft Corp. has a 1-year low of $26.28 and a 1-year high of $38.98. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $37.38 and a 200-day moving average of $34.47. The company has a market cap of $302.3 billion and a P/E ratio of 13.70. Microsoft Corp. also saw unusually large options trading activity on Tuesday. Investors purchased 130,545 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of 115% compared to the typical volume of 60,702 put options.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) last released its earnings data on Thursday, October 24th. The company reported $0.62 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $18.53 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $17.83 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.65 earnings per share. Microsoft Corp.’s revenue was up 15.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Microsoft Corp. will post $2.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 13th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 20th will be given a dividend of 0.28 per share. This represents a $1.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.06%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, February 18th.
A number of other firms have also recently commented on MSFT. Analysts at TheStreet reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note to investors on Wednesday. Separately, analysts at Thomson Reuters/Verus downgraded shares of Microsoft Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note to investors on Monday, December 9th. Finally, analysts at Evercore Partners reiterated an “overweight” rating on shares of Microsoft Corp. in a research note to investors on Wednesday, November 27th. They now have a $45.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $38.00. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have issued a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $35.48.
Microsoft Corporation is engaged in developing, licensing and supporting a range of software products and services.
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