Retirement Systems of Alabama lowered its position in Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) by 4.8% during the third quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 4,583,359 shares of the software giant’s stock after selling 230,009 shares during the quarter. Microsoft accounts for approximately 3.1% of Retirement Systems of Alabama’s holdings, making the stock its 2nd biggest holding. Retirement Systems of Alabama’s holdings in Microsoft were worth $637,224,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of MSFT. Navellier & Associates Inc raised its stake in shares of Microsoft by 0.6% in the 2nd quarter. Navellier & Associates Inc now owns 15,304 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $2,050,000 after purchasing an additional 95 shares in the last quarter. Empirical Finance LLC grew its position in shares of Microsoft by 3.5% during the 2nd quarter. Empirical Finance LLC now owns 8,707 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,166,000 after buying an additional 295 shares during the last quarter. Legacy Financial Strategies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Microsoft during the 2nd quarter valued at about $211,000. Axiom International Investors LLC DE grew its position in shares of Microsoft by 24.3% during the 2nd quarter. Axiom International Investors LLC DE now owns 1,042,490 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $139,652,000 after buying an additional 203,715 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Independence Bank of Kentucky grew its position in shares of Microsoft by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Independence Bank of Kentucky now owns 14,960 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $2,004,000 after buying an additional 95 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.20% of the company’s stock.
In other Microsoft news, CMO Christopher C. Capossela sold 7,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $138.15, for a total value of $967,050.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief marketing officer now owns 122,817 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,967,168.55. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Amy Hood sold 123,769 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $137.26, for a total transaction of $16,988,532.94. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 433,940 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $59,562,604.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 339,804 shares of company stock valued at $46,790,619. 1.39% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 23rd. The software giant reported $1.38 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.14. The business had revenue of $33.06 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $32.24 billion. Microsoft had a net margin of 31.66% and a return on equity of 39.14%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 13.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.14 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Microsoft Co. will post 5.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Microsoft announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Wednesday, September 18th that authorizes the company to repurchase $40.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the software giant to buy up to 3.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 12th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 21st will be given a $0.51 dividend. This represents a $2.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.40%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 20th. This is an increase from Microsoft’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. Microsoft’s dividend payout ratio is 38.74%.
MSFT has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Wedbush reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $170.00 price objective (up previously from $160.00) on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Thursday, October 24th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Microsoft from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $147.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, October 25th. Argus boosted their price objective on shares of Microsoft to $158.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 25th. CIBC boosted their price objective on shares of Microsoft from $145.00 to $160.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, July 19th. Finally, Cleveland Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Friday, October 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, thirty-one have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Microsoft has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $159.45.
Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports software, services, devices, and solutions worldwide. Its company's Productivity and Business Processes segment offers Office 365 commercial products and services, such as Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and related Client Access Licenses (CALs); Office 365 consumer services, including Skype, Outlook.com, and OneDrive; LinkedIn online professional network; and Dynamics business solutions comprising financial management, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, supply chain management, and analytics applications for small and medium businesses, large organizations, and divisions of enterprises.
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