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Microsoft (MSFT) Zeroes in on CEO Match

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Microsoft  (MSFT) is still looking for its new CEO, but it's edging a little closer to sealing the deal. Bloomberg reports the board will cull their CEO shortlist to 3 to 5 candidates, ahead of the tech giant's annual meeting on Tuesday.

Reportedly making the cut are Ford  (F) CEO Alan Mulally, Nokia's (NOK) former CEO Stephen Elop and former chief of Skype Tony Bates are the alleged frontrunners.

Tuesday's annual meeting will be the last hosted by retiring CEO Steve Ballmer.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company would not comment on rumors or speculation.

By market close, shares were slightly lower, down 0.37% to $37.88.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Microsoft Corp as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. The team has this to say about their 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 7.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • MSFT's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.20 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.65, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Software industry and the overall market, Microsoft Corp's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, this stock has enjoyed a nice rise of 28.95% which was in line with the performance 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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