Microsoft (MSFT) Price Target Raised to 'Street High' $325 at Wedbush as Cloud Story Is Not Slowing Down

June 23, 2021 7:35 AM EDT
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Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives has raised the price target on Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to a 'Street High' $325.00 per share from $310.00 per share while maintaining an “Outperform” rating. The update comes as MSFT eclipsed $2 trillion in market cap yesterday, joining Apple.

“Microsoft remains our favorite large cap cloud play and we believe the stock will start to move higher over the coming quarters as the Street further appreciates the cloud transformation story in Redmond. While many tech stocks overall are all being lumped together as part of the WFH trade, we believe the growth story at MSFT is not slowing down as more enterprises/governments head down this cloud path over the coming years,” the analyst said in a memo.

Ives justifies the price target hike with growth in the Azure cloud, according to the recent June quarter checks.

“We are seeing deal sizes continue to increase markedly as enterprise-wide digital transformation shifts are accelerating with CIOs all focused on readying their respective enterprises for a cloud driven architecture. We believe the Street's view of moderating cloud growth on the other side of this 16 month WFH cycle is contrary to the deal activity MSFT is seeing in the field with a robust June quarter likely around the corner. While we have seen the momentum of this backdrop in the last few years, we believe deal flow looks incrementally strong (Office 365/Azure combo deals in particular) heading into FY22 as we estimate that Microsoft is still only ~35% through penetrating its unparalleled installed base on the cloud transition.”

Looking at the big picture, Ives argues Azure’s cloud momentum is still in the early days given MSFT’s massive installed base.

“With this highest IT priority front and center, we believe 85%-90% of these cloud deployments have already been green lighted by CIOs and healthy cloud budgets already in place, with Redmond firmly positioned to gain more market share vs. AWS in this cloud arms race. That said, this will be a key 12 to 18 months looking ahead as the Street and industry will be laser focused on the success of AWS, Azure, GCP, and IBM as the battle for the cloud plays out in the field.”

The digital transformation has taken a massive step forward in 2020 and the cloud shift is only starting to take the next stage of growth globally, adds Ives.

“We believe this disproportionally benefits the cloud stalwart out of Redmond, as Nadella & Co. are so well positioned in its core enterprise backyard to further deploy its Azure/Office 365 as the cloud backbone and artery. Naturally AWS as well as Google and others (IBM) will benefit, as we predict enterprise workloads on the cloud increase from 40% today to 45% by the end of 2021 and 55% by 2022. For CIOs looking ahead, cloud shifts represent the path over the coming years as we estimate global cloud spending will approach $1 trillion over the next decade with next generation platforms/infrastructure facilitating this ongoing IT transformation,” Ives concludes.

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