Dark pool activity and bullish options flow was detected in MSFT stock on January 13, 2020.

The dark pool trades look like buy orders because of how MSFT stock rose after the prints.

Another reason why the dark pool orders are likely buy orders is that we detected bullish options flow on January 13, 2020, in Microsoft stock.

On January 13, 2020, Credit Suisse analyst Brad Zelnick raised his price target for Microsoft to $180 from $155 as he remains constructive on the long-term opportunity for the company, supported by his CIO survey that suggests share gains in the cloud as well as his bottom-up analysis indicating Commercial Cloud revenues could exceed $100B in 5 years. The analyst has an Outperform rating on the shares.

On January 9, 2020, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill maintained a Buy rating on Microsoft, and raised his price target on shares to $185 from $160. He called the company one of his top picks in Large Cap Software, noting the company had “excellent visibility and a clear line of sight into double-digit revenue growth for the foreseeable future.”

On January 9, 2020, Tractor Supply Company (TSCO) announced the selection of Microsoft (MSFT) as its preferred and strategic cloud provider to support technology architecture and modernization for the Company’s Ecommerce website and enterprise analytics platform.

The strategic agreement supports Tractor Supply’s ONETractor strategy of leveraging physical and digital assets to deliver personalized, convenient shopping experiences anytime, anywhere and in any way customers choose. As part of the agreement, Tractor Supply will leverage cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365, for enterprise initiatives supporting both the in-store and digital experience. The analytics engine will provide better insights and enable deeper personalization to tailor the customer’s shopping experience. It will also create business intelligence to drive enterprise-wide analytics to support the Company’s ONETractor strategy.

Tractor Supply has also selected Microsoft Azure to support the upgrade of its Ecommerce platform at www.TractorSupply.com. The Azure cloud solution will allow Tractor Supply to deploy workloads at scale while remaining elastic and agile to support changing demand.

Also on January 9, 2020, Cowen analyst Nick Yako raised his price target on Microsoft to $180 from $165. The analyst believes its advertising business remains underappreciated and notes its now one of the fastest growing businesses within the company outside of Azure. Yako reiterated his Outperform rating on Microsoft shares.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives raised his price target for Microsoft to $195 from $185 given the stronger than expected Azure deal flow he is seeing in the field as “Redmond remains in an enviable position heading into 2020 on the heels of its cloud success as it continues to fire on all cylinders around Office 365 and its Azure strategic vision.” Based on his recent checks for Q2 2020, the analyst also feels incrementally confident in his bullish thesis on Microsoft for the coming year. Ives reiterates an Outperform rating on the shares.

On January 8, 2020, Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss raised his price target on Microsoft shares to $189 from $157. While a rising mix of Cloud revenues, the lapping of product cycles in the high margin Windows OEM, Windows Server and SQL Server business and the upcoming Gaming hardware cycles have some investors concerned about gross margin improvements in the company’s fiscal 2021, Weiss said he estimates gross margins can increase, not decrease, in FY21 compared to FY20. The analyst, who continues to model a 12%+ gross profit dollar CAGR through FY22, with gross margins expanding each year, keeps an Overweight rating on Microsoft shares.

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