Microsoft hits 52-week high in exec team shuffle
The company adds new names to its leadership team amid a broad rally in the technology sector.
Microsoft (MSFT) hit fresh 52-week highs on Monday as the company appointed new names to the executive team and as the broader hardware and software industries enjoyed a rally. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
Shares had climbed 2.6 percent to $41.35 in the early afternoon, slightly lower than a 52-week high of $41.47 achieved earlier in the day. The stock closed up 1.7 percent to $40.99.
In an email to employees, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured) announced the promotion of Phil Spencer, previously head of Microsoft's game studios, to head of the Xbox division.
"Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the OSG team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones," Nadella wrote in the note.
Additionally, Scott Guthrie, most recently head of Microsoft Azure, has been promoted to executive vice president.
Upon the close of Microsoft's deal with Nokia (NOK), former CEO of the company Stephen Elop will join Microsoft as executive vice president of Microsoft Devices Group. Nadella said the acquisition is expected to close by the end of April.
TheStreet Ratings team rates Microsoft as a "buy" with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team had this to say about its recommendation:
"We rate MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- MSFT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.9 percent. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.3 percent. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- Although MSFT's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.96, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
- Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Software industry and the overall market, MICROSOFT CORP's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
- Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 38.73 percent over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MSFT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
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