Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFTGet Rating) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has a $329.00 price objective on the software giant’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 20.06% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Microsoft’s performance is benefiting from strength in its Azure cloud platform amid accelerated global digital transformation. Teams’ user growth is gaining from continuation of remote work and mainstream adoption of hybrid/flexible work model. Recovery in advertising and job market boosted LinkedIn and Search revenues. Solid uptake of new Xbox consoles is aiding the gaming segment performance. The company is witnessing growth in user base of its different applications including Microsoft 365 suite, Dynamics and Power Platform. Microsoft expects Surface revenues to grow in the mid-teens range, driven by strong demand for premium devices. Microsoft shares have outperformed the industry year to date. However, increasing spend on Azure enhancements amid stiff competition in the cloud space from Amazon is likely to dent margins.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Tigress Financial lifted their price objective on Microsoft from $366.00 to $411.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 4th. Wells Fargo & Company dropped their price objective on Microsoft from $425.00 to $400.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday. Royal Bank of Canada set a $380.00 price objective on Microsoft in a research note on Wednesday, January 26th. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on Microsoft from $364.00 to $372.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 26th. Finally, Barclays set a $363.00 target price on Microsoft in a research note on Wednesday, February 9th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, thirty have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat, the company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $359.37.

NASDAQ:MSFT opened at $274.03 on Thursday. Microsoft has a 52 week low of $238.07 and a 52 week high of $349.67. The company has a quick ratio of 2.21, a current ratio of 2.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30. The company has a market capitalization of $2.05 trillion, a P/E ratio of 29.18, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.91. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $293.65 and its two-hundred day moving average is $310.54.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFTGet Rating) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, January 25th. The software giant reported $2.48 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.29 by $0.19. Microsoft had a return on equity of 45.73% and a net margin of 38.50%. The company had revenue of $51.73 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $50.80 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $2.03 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 20.1% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Microsoft will post 9.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Emma N. Walmsley bought 1,700 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 28th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $295.48 per share, with a total value of $502,316.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Bradford L. Smith sold 27,860 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $304.64, for a total value of $8,487,270.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MSFT. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. raised its position in Microsoft by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 717,041 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $241,156,000 after purchasing an additional 3,421 shares during the period. Asahi Life Asset Management CO. LTD. raised its position in Microsoft by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Asahi Life Asset Management CO. LTD. now owns 198,595 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $66,791,000 after purchasing an additional 3,512 shares during the period. Bessemer Securities LLC raised its position in Microsoft by 26.8% in the third quarter. Bessemer Securities LLC now owns 48,407 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $13,647,000 after purchasing an additional 10,243 shares during the period. Derbend Asset Management raised its position in Microsoft by 3.1% in the fourth quarter. Derbend Asset Management now owns 8,275 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $2,783,000 after purchasing an additional 252 shares during the period. Finally, Bowman & Co S.C. purchased a new position in Microsoft in the fourth quarter valued at about $2,983,000. 69.41% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Microsoft Company Profile (Get Rating)

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports software, services, devices, and solutions worldwide. Its Productivity and Business Processes segment offers Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Office 365 Security and Compliance, and Skype for Business, as well as related Client Access Licenses (CAL); Skype, Outlook.com, OneDrive, and LinkedIn; and Dynamics 365, a set of cloud-based and on-premises business solutions for organizations and enterprise divisions.

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