Like most stocks, shares of Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) have been under intense selling pressure over the past week.
Before Monday's open, Microsoft stock was down about $10 per share or 10.3% from the all-time highs it hit a few weeks ago. Notably, though, shares ripped higher on Monday, recapturing most of those losses by jumping 7.57% and closing at $93.78.
The decline might have some people second guessing Microsoft stock and its place in an investor's retirement portfolio. Does it still make sense to be long the big-time tech giant?
I think it is -- although nabbing Microsoft on these types of quick selloffs is clearly the ideal way to get long.
Many may view Microsoft as a hybrid growth stock. What does this mean? It means the company has an emphasis on returning capital to investors in the form of dividends and share buybacks. It has a consistent business, with strong earnings, cash flow and a rock-solid balance sheet.
Despite all this dependability, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has positioned the company for impressive growth. Its acquisition of LinkedIn has helped to accelerate top-line growth. Microsoft's efforts in cloud computing should help pave the way to elevated growth for several years. While still in the early days, artificial intelligence should be another driver of revenue in the future.
While total revenue and earnings growth at Microsoft may lag some of its peers, it also has the most attractive earnings-based valuation. That compares to companies like Alibaba Holding Group Ltd (BABA) , Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) (GOOGL) , among others.
That's not to say these companies are unattractive. After all, all of them have impressive growth. But Microsoft has the lowest valuation. Coupled with its capital return -- its dividend yields almost 2% -- and Microsoft seems like an attractive growth stock for a retirement account.
Just because it's fitting for a retirement account, doesn't make Microsoft boring, though. Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss put out a very bullish note on Monday, saying Microsoft is heading for a $1 trillion market cap.
He's bullish on the company's cloud prospects, as it is differentiated from the offerings by Amazon and Alphabet. Thanks to its unique product offerings and "large existing customer base," Microsoft should continue to take market share for the next three years. Operating margins should continue to improve during that time, too, Weiss contends.
Ultimately, Weiss said Microsoft is now his top pick and bumped his price target to $130 from $110. The target implies about 41% upside following Monday's strong rally.
The big kicker, though? Weiss sees a "clear path" to $50 billion in EBIT and a whopping $1 trillion market cap.
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