Microsoft Stock Nears Record Highs After Bull Note

MSFT could be poised to finish 2023 strong, per seasonality data

Deputy Editor
Jul 14, 2023 at 10:45 AM
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The shares of Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) are on track for their fourth-straight win, up 1.6% to trade at $348.14. Today's pop -- a chip-shot from its June 16 record high of $351.47 -- comes after UBS upgraded the blue-chip tech giant to "buy" from "neutral," with a price-target hike to $400 from $345.

The firm cited cloud stabilization as well as artificial intelligence (AI) tailwinds, though uncertainty surrounding the tech giant's $69 billion acquisition of video game name Activision Blizzard (ATVI) is also drawing attention. 

Year-to-date, Microsoft stock sports a 44.7% lead. The shares' 40-day moving average has stepped up as support in the past few months, a trendline that hasn't been breached on a closing basis since March 10. 

So far today, 181,000 calls and 73,000 puts have been exchanged, volume that is double the amount typically seen at this point. Expiring at the end of the day, the weekly 7/14 350-strike and 352.50-strike calls are the most active, with new positions being opened at both. 

This preference for calls isn't unusual, considering the past 10 weeks in the options pits. MSFT's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.90 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks higher than all other readings from the past year. 

Options traders are pricing in low volatility expectations, too, per Microsoft stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 22%, which ranks in the 16th percentile of its annual range. 


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