Microsoft lost its only sell rating on Monday as Guggenheim upgraded its view on the software giant to neutral, citing a tailwind from generative artificial intelligence.
“Like every other person on the planet, we’ve come to expect that the gen AI ‘narrative’ will become more than just a story, though we still question how much monetisation will be realised and over what timeframe,” wrote analyst John DiFucci. “The generative AI narrative is too positive a force to contend with, even though the troubling dynamics we thought might develop, did.”
The firm cites struggles with Microsoft’s Windows product as one of the “troubling dynamics” weighing on the stock, along with “growing pains in the market” for the company’s Azure cloud computing business.
Shares rose 0.2% in pre-market trading. While the stock is up 32% this year, with investor excitement surrounding AI a primary contributor to the rally, Microsoft is coming off its biggest one-week percentage drop since January. It’s a slight under-performer relative to the Nasdaq 100 Index this year.
Guggenheim stepping away from its bearish view reinforces the positive consensus surrounding Microsoft. Currently, nearly 90% of the analysts (tracked by Bloomberg) have buy ratings on the stock, while the rest have the equivalent of a hold rating. The recommendation consensus on the stock — a proxy for its ratio of buy, hold, and sell ratings — stands at 4.74 out of five, the fourth-highest in the Nasdaq 100 Index.
In addition, based on the average analyst price target, Microsoft shares have a return potential of 25%. — (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP