DnB Asset Management AS Trims Stake in Microsoft Co. (MSFT)

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DnB Asset Management AS lowered its holdings in shares of Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) by 29.3% in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 2,737,281 shares of the software giant’s stock after selling 1,137,100 shares during the period. Microsoft accounts for 3.2% of DnB Asset Management AS’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 4th largest holding. DnB Asset Management AS’s holdings in Microsoft were worth $269,923,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MSFT. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 1.3% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 499,849,770 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $45,621,287,000 after purchasing an additional 6,488,089 shares in the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its holdings in shares of Microsoft by 12.3% in the 1st quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 27,839,945 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $2,540,952,000 after purchasing an additional 3,049,723 shares in the last quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. increased its holdings in Microsoft by 1.6% during the 1st quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 21,899,699 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,998,786,000 after acquiring an additional 346,564 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings in Microsoft by 7.6% during the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 20,956,647 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,912,713,000 after acquiring an additional 1,473,682 shares in the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in Microsoft by 0.5% during the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 18,709,029 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $1,600,370,000 after acquiring an additional 91,553 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 71.80% of the company’s stock.

MSFT has been the subject of several recent research reports. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Microsoft from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 18th. Griffin Securities raised their price target on shares of Microsoft from $119.00 to $124.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 20th. Deutsche Bank raised their price target on shares of Microsoft to $130.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 20th. Credit Suisse Group set a $125.00 price target on shares of Microsoft and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 19th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Microsoft from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $121.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, July 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, thirty-one have issued a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $120.60.

In other news, insider Jean Philippe Courtois sold 28,939 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $110.00, for a total transaction of $3,183,290.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 500,782 shares in the company, valued at $55,086,020. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Margaret L. Johnson sold 47,000 shares of Microsoft stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $107.67, for a total transaction of $5,060,490.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 109,687 shares in the company, valued at approximately $11,809,999.29. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 650,042 shares of company stock worth $71,264,850. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

MSFT stock traded up $3.66 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $109.57. 46,717,564 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 28,720,928. The stock has a market cap of $880.63 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.24, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 1.28. The company has a quick ratio of 2.86, a current ratio of 2.90 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94. Microsoft Co. has a fifty-two week low of $77.25 and a fifty-two week high of $116.18.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 19th. The software giant reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.08 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $30.09 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $29.23 billion. Microsoft had a net margin of 15.02% and a return on equity of 36.69%. Microsoft’s revenue was up 17.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.75 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Microsoft Co. will post 4.25 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 13th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 15th will be given a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.68%. This is a boost from Microsoft’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.42. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 14th. Microsoft’s payout ratio is 43.30%.

Microsoft 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.

Further Reading: Average Daily Trade Volume Explained

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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