Meridian Investment Counsel Inc. reduced its position in shares of Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) by 4.3% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 27,525 shares of the software giant’s stock after selling 1,250 shares during the period. Microsoft accounts for approximately 1.1% of Meridian Investment Counsel Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 25th largest position. Meridian Investment Counsel Inc.’s holdings in Microsoft were worth $1,710,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Microsoft during the third quarter worth $130,000. JJJ Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in Microsoft during the fourth quarter worth $186,000. Windsor Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Microsoft during the third quarter worth $206,000. Schneider Downs Wealth Management Advisors LP acquired a new stake in Microsoft during the third quarter worth $212,000. Finally, Kissinger Financial Services LLC acquired a new stake in Microsoft during the third quarter worth $215,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.29% of the company’s stock.
Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) opened at 64.93 on Tuesday. Microsoft Co. has a 1-year low of $48.03 and a 1-year high of $65.91. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $64.39 and its 200-day moving average price is $61.08. The stock has a market cap of $501.75 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.56 and a beta of 1.08.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 26th. The software giant reported $0.84 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.79 by $0.05. Microsoft had a net margin of 19.57% and a return on equity of 32.12%. The business earned $26.07 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $25.13 billion. The company’s revenue was up 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.78 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Microsoft Co. will post $2.98 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 8th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, May 18th will be paid a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, May 16th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.40%. Microsoft’s payout ratio is currently 73.59%.
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MSFT has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Vetr raised Microsoft from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.27 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, November 24th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc raised Microsoft from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $60.00 to $68.00 in a research report on Sunday, December 4th. William Blair reissued an “outperform” rating on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Tuesday, December 13th. Cowen and Company reissued an “outperform” rating on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Tuesday, December 13th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $75.00 price objective on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Friday, December 16th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating, twenty-three have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $67.28.
In other Microsoft news, insider G Mason Morfit sold 4,616,000 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.40, for a total value of $297,270,400.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director William H. Gates III sold 2,000,000 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.55, for a total transaction of $129,100,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 19,623,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,253,600,525 over the last ninety days. 2.99% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
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.
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