Microsoft Co. (MSFT) Short Interest Up 4.6% in April

Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest during the month of April. As of April 30th, there was short interest totalling 44,892,598 shares, an increase of 4.6% from the April 15th total of 42,920,632 shares. Approximately 0.6% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 23,442,825 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.9 days.

MSFT has been the topic of a number of research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Microsoft from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $118.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Thursday, January 24th. Credit Suisse Group set a $125.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, January 27th. Bank of America raised shares of Microsoft to a “buy” rating and dropped their price objective for the stock from $150.00 to $140.00 in a report on Monday, January 28th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. KeyCorp reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $125.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group set a $123.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 30th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, twenty-five have given a buy rating and three have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Microsoft currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $135.75.

In related news, President Bradford L. Smith sold 192,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, April 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.34, for a total value of $25,064,382.00. Following the transaction, the president now owns 754,442 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $98,333,970.28. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Satya Nadella sold 15,334 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.31, for a total transaction of $1,722,161.54. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,104,932 shares in the company, valued at approximately $124,094,912.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 238,354 shares of company stock worth $30,340,221. Insiders own 1.38% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of MSFT. Vanguard Group Inc increased its position in Microsoft by 1.6% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 577,877,949 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $66,091,902,000 after purchasing an additional 8,820,439 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Microsoft by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 507,006,157 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $51,496,613,000 after purchasing an additional 3,257,514 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its position in Microsoft by 5.2% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 254,905,697 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $25,890,773,000 after purchasing an additional 12,660,256 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its position in Microsoft by 9,587.0% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 169,992,326 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $1,674,000 after purchasing an additional 168,237,479 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position in Microsoft by 1.4% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 101,479,425 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $11,949,033,000 after purchasing an additional 1,396,194 shares during the last quarter. 73.60% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NASDAQ:MSFT opened at $126.18 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 2.97, a quick ratio of 2.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.70. Microsoft has a 1-year low of $93.96 and a 1-year high of $131.37. The company has a market cap of $977.10 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 32.52, a PEG ratio of 2.23 and a beta of 1.24.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 24th. The software giant reported $1.14 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.14. Microsoft had a net margin of 28.58% and a return on equity of 39.34%. The business had revenue of $30.57 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $29.86 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.95 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 14.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Microsoft will post 4.58 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 13th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, May 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.46%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 15th. Microsoft’s dividend payout ratio is currently 47.42%.

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About Microsoft

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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