Microsoft Hits Fresh Record High After Wedbush Price Boost; Q4 Earnings in Focus

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives boosted his price target for Microsoft to a Wall Sreet-high $260 per share ahead of this month's fourth quarter earnings report.

Microsoft Inc.  (MSFT) - Get Report shares traded at a fresh record high Thursday after analysts at Wedbush boosted their price target on the tech giant ahead of its fourth quarter earnings report later this month.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives maintained his outperform rating on the stock, which has been in place prior to the group's third quarter earnings on April 29, but boosted his price target by $40 to $260 per share, the highest on Wall Street. In a separate note published Thursday, Morgan Stanley analysts lifted their price target for Microsoft by $32 to $230 per share.  

Microsoft was also boosted by stronger-than-expected sales and earnings from rival SAP SE  (SAP) - Get Report, one of Europe's biggest tech companies, that suggest robust demand for services that help migrate companies to cloud-based services as their employees increasingly work from home and their customer bases expand around the world. 

"In many cases we are seeing enterprises accelerate their digital transformation and cloud strategy with Microsoft by six to twelve months as the prospects of a heavy remote workforce for the foreseeable future now looks in the cards with this COVID-19 backdrop," Ives said. 

Microsoft shares were marked 1.6% higher in early trading Thursday to change hands at $215.95, a fresh all-time high and a move that would boost the stock's year-to-date gain to around 37% and value the Redmond, Washington-based group at around $1.64 trillion.

Microsoft earned $1.40 per share over its fiscal third quarter, on sales of $35 billion, which were paced by a 39% gain in commercial cloud revenues, which combine Microsoft's Azure with other cloud-based software offerings.

The group will post its fourth quarter earnings on July 22, with analysts looking for a bottom line figure of $1.39 per share on revenues of $36.5 billion.