Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NAS:MSFT) rose 0.8% in premarket trading, which would put the on track to open in record territory, after Wedbush analyst Dan Ives raised his price target on the software and cloud giant, citing signs of "relatively strong cloud deal activity" during the June quarter. Ives reiterated the outperform rating he's had on the stock for at least the past 21 months but raised his target to $260 from $240, making him most bullish on Microsoft of the 35 analysts surveyed by FactSet. The second most bullish is Wells Fargo's Philip Winslow with a $250 price target, according to FactSet. "In many cases we are seeing enterprises accelerate their digital transformation and cloud strategy with Microsoft by 6-to-12 months as the prospects of a heavy remote workforce for the foreseeable future now looks in the cards with this COVID-19 backdrop," Ives wrote in a note to clients. He believes Azure's cloud momentum is still in its "early days" of playing out. The stock has rallied 35.0% year to date to close Wednesday a record, while the Nasdaq Composite (AMERICAN:COMP) has rallied 16.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA) has lost 8.7%.
July 9, 2020, 7:25 a.m. EDT