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Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the target of a large growth in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 55,925,306 shares, a growth of 5.4% from the December 14th total of 53,082,108 shares. Approximately 0.7% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 57,252,976 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.0 days.

A number of research analysts recently weighed in on MSFT shares. Credit Suisse Group set a $125.00 price objective on Microsoft and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 19th. Cleveland Research reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Microsoft in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Oppenheimer set a $127.00 price objective on Microsoft and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 1st. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $130.00 target price on shares of Microsoft in a report on Thursday, September 27th. Finally, Barclays set a $120.00 target price on Microsoft and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, thirty-three have given a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $121.88.

In related news, CEO Satya Nadella sold 203,418 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $106.68, for a total value of $21,700,632.24. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,014,247 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $108,199,869.96. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Kathleen T. Hogan sold 36,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.28, for a total value of $4,061,720.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 226,801 shares in the company, valued at $25,238,415.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 279,918 shares of company stock worth $30,102,412 over the last three months. 1.38% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Parkside Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 141.4% during the 4th quarter. Parkside Advisors LLC now owns 6,393 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $649,000 after purchasing an additional 3,745 shares in the last quarter. Pure Financial Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 9.5% during the 4th quarter. Pure Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 9,321 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $947,000 after purchasing an additional 809 shares in the last quarter. Global Trust Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 90.1% during the 4th quarter. Global Trust Asset Management LLC now owns 17,130 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $1,740,000 after purchasing an additional 8,120 shares in the last quarter. HT Partners LLC grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 11.6% during the 4th quarter. HT Partners LLC now owns 5,752 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $584,000 after purchasing an additional 599 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Visionary Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 47.9% during the 4th quarter. Visionary Asset Management Inc. now owns 7,180 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $729,000 after purchasing an additional 2,325 shares in the last quarter. 71.64% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of NASDAQ:MSFT opened at $102.80 on Monday. Microsoft has a 1-year low of $83.83 and a 1-year high of $116.18. The company has a market cap of $802.86 billion, a PE ratio of 26.49, a PEG ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 1.24. The company has a current ratio of 2.92, a quick ratio of 2.85 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 24th. The software giant reported $1.14 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.18. Microsoft had a return on equity of 39.86% and a net margin of 16.38%. The company had revenue of $29.08 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $27.92 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.84 EPS. Microsoft’s revenue for the quarter was up 18.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Research analysts expect that Microsoft will post 4.43 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.79%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, February 20th. Microsoft’s payout ratio is presently 47.42%.

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Microsoft Company Profile

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 for businesses, 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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