Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Microsoft reported impressive first-quarter fiscal 2018 results driven by rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365. We expect these to remain the key catalysts in the near future. This along with lower spending will drive operating margin expansion in fiscal 2018. We believe that collaborations with the likes of Amazon.com, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are positive for the company's growth prospects. Microsoft recently launched Xbox One X with a strong game line-up. Considering the record pre-orders, we believe that the latest console has significant growth potential. However, intense competition from Sony’s PS4 is a major headwind. Additionally, declining PC shipments doesn't bode well for the company. Microsoft has underperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis.”

MSFT has been the subject of several other research reports. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Microsoft Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 6th. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $94.00 target price (up previously from $86.00) on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a report on Friday, October 27th. Morgan Stanley reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $80.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation in a report on Thursday, July 13th. Atlantic Securities set a $83.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, UBS AG set a $105.00 target price on shares of Microsoft Corporation and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and twenty-nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Microsoft Corporation currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $83.64.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) traded down $0.22 on Friday, reaching $83.87. 19,397,700 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 23,069,730. The firm has a market capitalization of $647,022.69, a P/E ratio of 24.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 1.01. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 3.06 and a current ratio of 3.12. Microsoft Corporation has a 1 year low of $57.28 and a 1 year high of $86.20.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The software giant reported $0.84 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.12. The company had revenue of $24.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $23.57 billion. Microsoft Corporation had a net margin of 24.56% and a return on equity of 35.23%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.76 earnings per share. analysts forecast that Microsoft Corporation will post 3.37 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, CFO Amy Hood sold 55,000 shares of Microsoft Corporation stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.71, for a total value of $3,999,050.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 510,217 shares in the company, valued at $37,097,878.07. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Jean Philippe Courtois sold 26,763 shares of Microsoft Corporation stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.00, for a total transaction of $1,980,462.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 537,519 shares in the company, valued at approximately $39,776,406. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 96,763 shares of company stock worth $7,240,712. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 4.6% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 564,052,011 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $38,880,105,000 after buying an additional 25,053,413 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 0.8% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 318,681,830 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $20,988,383,000 after buying an additional 2,552,473 shares in the last quarter. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its holdings in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 212.3% during the 2nd quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 69,663,044 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $4,801,874,000 after buying an additional 47,353,245 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 609.4% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 49,174,883 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $3,389,625,000 after buying an additional 42,243,011 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc boosted its holdings in shares of Microsoft Corporation by 2.1% during the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 38,463,571 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $2,864,881,000 after buying an additional 774,549 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.37% of the company’s stock.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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