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Microsoft (MSFT) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 14.7% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $332 in the previous session. Microsoft has gained 49.1% since the start of the year compared to the 25.8% move for the Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the 41.8% return for the Zacks Computer - Software industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on October 26, 2021, Microsoft reported EPS of $2.27 versus consensus estimate of $2.06 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 3.29%.

For the current fiscal year, Microsoft is expected to post earnings of $9.19 per share on $194.88 billion in revenues. This represents a 15.31% change in EPS on a 15.94% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $10.16 per share on $220.41 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 10.61% and 13.1%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Microsoft may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Microsoft has a Value Score of D. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and B, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 36.1X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 34.5X versus its peer group's average of 28.5X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 3. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Microsoft currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Microsoft meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Microsoft shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.

How Does Microsoft Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of Microsoft have been rising, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Weibo (WB), Shutterstock (SSTK), and CACI International (CACI), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 40% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Microsoft, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation.


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