Howard Financial Services LTD. Raises Holdings in Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Howard Financial Services LTD. lifted its holdings in shares of Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) by 1.5% in the second quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 11,037 shares of the software giant’s stock after purchasing an additional 167 shares during the period. Microsoft accounts for about 1.2% of Howard Financial Services LTD.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 14th biggest holding. Howard Financial Services LTD.’s holdings in Microsoft were worth $2,990,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. Aviva PLC grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 1.0% in the 1st quarter. Aviva PLC now owns 3,844,964 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $906,528,000 after acquiring an additional 38,723 shares during the period. Kiwi Wealth Investments Limited Partnership grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 16.8% in the 1st quarter. Kiwi Wealth Investments Limited Partnership now owns 405,372 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $95,575,000 after acquiring an additional 58,323 shares during the period. Essex Savings Bank grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Essex Savings Bank now owns 25,157 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $6,281,000 after acquiring an additional 500 shares during the period. Fisher Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 2.5% in the 1st quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 23,989,868 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $5,656,091,000 after acquiring an additional 595,997 shares during the period. Finally, Soltis Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 38.2% in the 1st quarter. Soltis Investment Advisors LLC now owns 35,049 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $8,264,000 after acquiring an additional 9,693 shares during the period. 69.17% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

NASDAQ:MSFT opened at $299.79 on Wednesday. The business’s 50-day moving average is $291.10 and its two-hundred day moving average is $264.36. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, a current ratio of 2.08 and a quick ratio of 2.05. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.25 trillion, a PE ratio of 37.24, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.10 and a beta of 0.78. Microsoft Co. has a 12 month low of $196.25 and a 12 month high of $305.84.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its earnings results on Monday, July 26th. The software giant reported $2.17 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.92 by $0.25. Microsoft had a return on equity of 45.76% and a net margin of 36.45%. The company had revenue of $46.15 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $44.30 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.46 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 21.3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that Microsoft Co. will post 8.61 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 9th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.62 per share. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.83%. This is a boost from Microsoft’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. Microsoft’s payout ratio is 28.11%.

In other Microsoft news, CEO Satya Nadella sold 75,573 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $303.28, for a total transaction of $22,919,779.44. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,632,350 shares in the company, valued at approximately $495,059,108. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CFO Amy Hood sold 60,000 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $303.08, for a total transaction of $18,184,800.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 165,573 shares of company stock worth $50,066,379. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on the company. Wedbush increased their target price on Microsoft from $325.00 to $350.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, August 20th. Barclays increased their target price on Microsoft from $288.00 to $325.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, July 23rd. Credit Suisse Group increased their target price on Microsoft from $300.00 to $320.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 28th. Sanford C. Bernstein increased their target price on Microsoft from $298.00 to $333.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 28th. Finally, Rosenblatt Securities raised their price objective on Microsoft from $333.00 to $349.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 28th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, thirty-one have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat, the stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $322.93.

Microsoft Company Profile

Microsoft Corp. engages in the development and support of software, services, devices, and solutions. It operates through the following business segments: Productivity and Business Processes; Intelligent Cloud; and More Personal Computing. The Productivity and Business Processes segment comprises products and services in the portfolio of productivity, communication, and information services of the company spanning a variety of devices and platform.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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