You’ll soon be seeing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Abominable Snowman, and not just in the holiday television special. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has licensed the characters to appear in its newest ads for its Bing search engine.
And while the company is looking to attract more advertisers and, of course, customers, traders would be wise to take a closer look at its options for a near-term bullish trade.
Technically, MSFT has major support at the $24 area, having bounced off that level three times already this year. Additionally, the stock has also been making higher lows when testing support — another sign of solid buying.
Fundamentally, MSFT is no longer the torrid growth stock of days of yore, but it does sport a decent growth rate along with a below-market multiple of just 9.1. With nearly $7 per share in cash, this puts Microsoft’s ex-cash multiple under 6. Combined with a yield of nearly 3.5%, we think MSFT makes good sense in the current market environment.
Microsoft has shown some real weakness lately, falling five straight days to $24.79 after stalling out at the $27 level. That said, the launch of Windows 8 should provide about $16 billion in after-tax profit and nearly 1.90 to the bottom line.
We think the selloff is overdone, and look for MSFT to retest the $27 level by March 2012 options expiration.
Based on MSFT’s current market price of $24.77 and using a target price of $27, a target date of March 16, 2012, and $1,000 of investment capital, this is an excellent candidate for capturing some nice upside by buying a March call or call spread, selling a March put spread or buying the stock.
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