Software giant Microsoft (MSFT) moved nicely higher Thursday on the back of an upgrade and news that it will lower prices of its mobile devices. The rally looks to have reignited the stock’s upward trajectory and offers the bulls a good entry point.
Investment banking firm FBR Capital on Thursday upgraded shares of Microsoft stock from a previous “market perform” rating to “outperform.” The firm also raised its price target for MSFT stock from $43 to $49.
Additionally, Microsoft announced that to gain market share, it will lower prices of various smartphones and tablet PCs.
From an investor sentiment perspective, every time I discuss the stock price of Microsoft with investors, many still consider it a dinosaur stuck in its ways and associate it with just the Windows operating system software. But it’s that lack of bullish sentiment that might be the most bullish case for the stock price, just as it remains the bull case for the broader stock market.
Over the years, MSFT has failed time and time again to enter the mobile devices market. But the company has deep pockets, and through various structural changes and acquisitions and with a recently new CEO in place, Microsoft looks much more poised to become a bigger player in mobile computing and other hot areas.
MSFT Stock Charts
On the charts, MSFT stock has traced out quite the picture since 2000. The drawing on the below weekly chart resembles a smirk, if not a smile. Note how from 2001 to 2006, Microsoft stock held the $20 area as good support. Then during the financial crisis, MSFT cracked below this level in 2009, which ultimately served as a long-term capitulation low.
In 2010 and 2011, MSFT stock built the right shoulder of this bigger-picture inverse head-and-shoulders pattern, and it did so holding the $23 area as support.
Ultimately, the rally in 2013 took the stock above long-term resistance near $37-$38, although a better-lasting breakout didn’t occur until the spring of this year.
On the daily chart, MSFT stock broke out of a multimonth consolidation period in mid-March, and with Thursday’s rally, it arguably gave us the next marginal breakout attempt. If one were to just look at the daily chart of MSFT, one could argue that the run off last September’s lows might be somewhat extended.
However, it is important to keep the above long-term chart in mind, as well as notice that MSFT stock is not rallying in a straight line, but rather is doing so in an orderly, stair-step way.
Tactical investors can use Thursday’s breakout to play Microsoft stock into the mid- to high $40s, using the high $30s as a stop level.
More active traders and investors can shoot for a move of MSFT into the $44-$45 area, using an initial stop near $40 and using a trailing stop thereafter.
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Download Serge’s trading plan in the Essence of Swing Trading e-book here. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.