Tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has gained 25% since the start of 2018 — almost five times better than the S&P 500’s rocky 6% ride higher. Right now, the company’s market cap is $819 billion, leading many analysts and journalists to begin chattering about MSFT stock’s path to the $1 trillion mark.
Of course, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) already won the tech race to $1 trillion this year, beating Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). But as I’ve written before, the race to $1 trillion is little more than an easy way to frame a news story. The $1 trillion level is more psychological than reflective of a stock’s fundamentals or ongoing upside.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few numbers related to MSFT stock that investors are much better off paying attention to.
1 – The stock recently topped three figures for the first time.
Right now, shares of MSFT stock are trading for just under $107. The $100 mark isn’t a huge deal to me — like the $1 trillion figure, it’s more psychological than anything. But it’s good to compare the stock’s current highs to forward-looking estimates. According to CNN Money, the median price target for Microsoft is $123, which represents 15% upside, while the highest level is $136, which equals 27% upside. Those are solid prospects for a stock that’s already posted substantial gains so far this year.
2 – In the most recent quarter, Azure revenue increased 89%.
Headlines about Microsoft stock tend to focus on the company’s cloud business and the fact that CEO Satya Nadella has so impressively turned the legacy tech company into a successful cloud play. But don’t just take our word for it. In the most recent earnings report, the number that stood heads and shoulders above the others was year-over-year sales growth for Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing service. That growth helped bring revenue for the cloud segment to nearly the same level as the company’s well-established business products segment, which includes things like Office 365 and LinkedIn.
3 – Nadella recently sold one-third of his shares.
With Microsoft at a new high, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that CEO Nadella wanted to pocket some of that coin. But it still makes investors a little nervous whenever a visible executive makes such a move. Nadella sold 30% of his shares earlier this month, netting over $35 million in the process. A spokesperson for the company told CNBC that the sale was made for “personal financial” reasons and, at the risk of sounding naive, I believe it. There are a myriad of reasons Nadella could have chosen to make such a move. With all fundamentals looking solid, I wouldn’t read too much into it.
The Bottom Line for MSFT Stock
All in all, Microsoft stock continues to look solid, with a growing cloud business, decent dividend, and double-digit growth. These metrics, by and large, support a story of continued growth for the big-name tech company, though savvy investors will keep checking in on them regularly.
As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.