Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday, July 24th.

According to Zacks, “Microsoft reported strong fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Both earnings and revenues increased on a year-over-year basis. The impressive results demonstrated that the company is benefiting from continuing enterprise strength, strong Office 365 and Windows 10 adoption and robust penetration of Azure. We also note that LinkedIn has improved the company's presence in the social media market, which improved top-line growth. Management expects expenses to increase in fiscal 2018 due to continuing investments. This will weigh on profitability in the near term. Nevertheless, we believe that the company's expanding product portfolio is a key catalyst in the long haul. However, intensifying competition in the cloud space and unfavorable foreign exchange are headwinds.”

Several other equities analysts have also issued reports on MSFT. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $75.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Thursday, April 6th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $80.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, April 19th. Pacific Crest reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research note on Thursday, April 20th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a research report on Thursday, April 20th. Finally, Vetr lowered Microsoft Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $69.32 price target on the stock. in a research report on Monday, April 24th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and twenty-nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $76.26.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) traded up 0.12% during trading on Monday, reaching $72.49. 18,761,491 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Microsoft Corporation has a 52-week low of $55.61 and a 52-week high of $74.42. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $72.16 and its 200-day moving average price is $68.26. The company has a market capitalization of $558.34 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.75 and a beta of 1.01.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 20th. The software giant reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the 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 business had revenue of $24.70 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $24.29 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.69 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Microsoft Corporation will post $3.21 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other Microsoft Corporation news, insider Jean Philippe Courtois sold 26,165 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.00, for a total value of $1,805,385.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 570,843 shares in the company, valued at approximately $39,388,167. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider G Mason Morfit sold 7,000,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.56, for a total value of $507,920,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 7,057,855 shares of company stock worth $512,044,578 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 2.99% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. 3G Capital Partners LP increased its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 7.1% in the fourth quarter. 3G Capital Partners LP now owns 1,608,543 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $99,955,000 after buying an additional 106,728 shares in the last quarter. Tompkins Financial Corp increased its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 21.1% in the first quarter. Tompkins Financial Corp now owns 104,748 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $5,784,000 after buying an additional 18,225 shares in the last quarter. Wealthfront Inc. increased its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 15.8% in the fourth quarter. Wealthfront Inc. now owns 230,160 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $14,302,000 after buying an additional 31,364 shares in the last quarter. AMF Pensionsforsakring AB increased its position in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 10.1% in the fourth quarter. AMF Pensionsforsakring AB now owns 6,579,698 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $408,862,000 after buying an additional 606,188 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dodge & Cox acquired a new position in shares of Microsoft Corporation during the fourth quarter worth about $2,658,504,000. 72.64% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Microsoft Corporation

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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