Shares of Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +3.18% surged 2.8% in premarket trading Thursday, enough to pace all of the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.94% components in pre-open gains, after Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan turned bullish on the software behemoth, citing strong cloud demand in the fact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stock’s implied price gain would add about 40 points to the Dow’s price, while Dow futures YM00, -0.36% rallied 423 points, or 1.5%. Horan raised his rating to outperform, less than two months after downgrading it to perform, while establishing a price target of $260, which is 20% above Wednesday’s closing price of $216.349. “Cloud growth has been more resilient than we expected despite enterprises hit hard by the pandemic, positive for [Microsoft’s] revenue growth,” Horan wrote in a note to clients. “Given industries accelerating their digitization strategies and less political uncertainty, we think now is a good entry point.” The stock has run up 37.2% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow has slipped 2.4%.