Why Microsoft is the Top AI Stock to Buy in 2024 Why Microsoft is the Top AI Stock to Buy in 2024

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By Ronald Tech

Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have reshaped various industries, making AI stocks an attractive option for growth-oriented investors. Among the leading contenders in this space, Microsoft (MSFT) has emerged as a key player, showing exceptional performance and robust AI capabilities. The company’s impressive start to fiscal 2024 saw outstanding growth across all its segments, building on its well-established business.

Diving Deep in the AI Game

Founded in 1975, Microsoft has established itself as a global tech giant, offering a wide range of software, hardware, cloud computing, and services. The company’s revenue has surged over the last five years, climbing from $126 billion in fiscal 2019 to $212 billion in fiscal 2023. This growth has been supported by its diverse operations and its stable financial foundation, which has resulted in a remarkable increase in earnings per share. Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure, provides an extensive set of AI services, allowing seamless integration of AI solutions for developers and businesses. With a 22% market share, Azure stands as the second-largest player in the cloud computing market, significantly contributing to Microsoft’s overall revenue. The success of Azure is highlighted by the 19% year-over-year increase in revenue for the Intelligent Cloud segment, which accounted for the majority of the company’s total revenue of $56.5 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2024. Notably, Azure revenue grew by 29% in the same period, indicating a strong market presence in the AI landscape. Microsoft’s successful incorporation of AI capabilities into its existing product ecosystem, including Windows, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, has contributed to the growth across all its segments. The recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard is expected to further bolster the company’s revenue, marking a significant step forward in expanding its reach in the personal computing segment.

The AI Growth Story Is Just Getting Started

Microsoft’s diverse revenue streams, which include cloud services and AI-related products, have strengthened its overall position in the competitive market. Management anticipates Azure’s revenue to increase by 26% to 27% in constant currency terms, reflecting a promising outlook for the Intelligent Segment revenue. Analysts also expect Microsoft to report a 16% increase in revenue to $61.04 billion and a 19% increase in earnings to $2.76 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2024. Looking ahead, revenue and earnings are predicted to increase by 14% and 15%, respectively, for the full fiscal year 2024. Microsoft’s forward fiscal 2024 earnings multiple of 34, compared to its historical five-year average price-to-earnings ratio of 29, suggests a premium valuation. However, the long-term AI prospects of the company may justify this premium, making it an enticing investment opportunity.

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What Does Wall Street Say About MSFT?

Recent statements made by analysts and industry experts reflect a positive sentiment towards Microsoft’s AI expansion. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives indicated that the stock has yet to fully price in the next wave of cloud and AI expansion due to Microsoft’s strong competitive cloud edge. Impressed with Microsoft’s AI products, Ives increased the target price on MSFT, underscoring the confidence in the company’s AI capabilities and growth potential.

Microsoft’s AI Power and Cloud Dominance

Microsoft’s AI Power and Cloud Dominance

Microsoft recently made waves in the AI space with its Copilot platform, drawing attention from analysts and investors alike. The company’s CEO highlighted significant milestones during the Q1 earnings call, with a positive outlook for the future. However, amidst high expectations, Microsoft faces tough competition in the rapidly evolving tech industry.

The Rise of Copilot

Analyst Daniel Ives projects a substantial revenue of $25 billion for Microsoft from Copilot by fiscal year 2025. This bold prediction indicates the immense potential of Microsoft’s AI platform and has bolstered investor confidence, with the stock receiving a “strong buy” rating. The platform’s growth is evident as Microsoft boasts 1 million paid Copilot users and over 37,000 organizations subscribing to Copilot for Business.

Competition in the Cloud

Despite Microsoft’s strides in AI, it faces fierce rivalry in cloud services, machine learning, and natural language processing. While Ives remains optimistic about Microsoft’s competitive advantage in the cloud over tech giants like Amazon and Alphabet (GOOGL), the battle for market share and profitability remains intense.

Bullish Outlook and Market Position

Wall Street sentiment toward Microsoft is overwhelmingly positive, with a “strong buy” rating overall. Out of 37 analysts covering the stock, 31 rate it a “strong buy,” underscoring the confidence in the company’s future prospects. Additionally, the average target price for MSFT stands at $408.34, signaling a 5.1% upside potential from current levels.


The Bottom Line

While the competition in the AI and cloud computing landscape is intense, Microsoft’s robust AI platform, strategic acquisitions, integrated solutions, and legacy products position the company favorably in the market. Despite the challenges, there is optimism that Microsoft can achieve its high target price of $600 in the near future, making it a compelling choice for investors eyeing the AI sector.