Microsoft Holds On as Dow’s Top-Performing Stock but Apple Lurks

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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) stock held on to its position as the best-performing Dow Jones industrial average stock for the year to date last week, but its weekly performance was no more than crashingly modest. The shares gained just 0.33% over the course of the week, and the stock’s year-to-date gain rose to 26.3%.

The second-best performer among the Dow index equities so far this year is Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), which is up 25.9%. That is followed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), up 22.9%, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 22.6%, and Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), up 18.2%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 16 have managed to post a gain to date in 2018.

The blue-chip index added just over 11 points last week to close at 25,462.58, so basically flat compared to the previous Friday’s close. The Dow closed up less than 1% for the second quarter but down 1.8% for the first six months of 2018. For the year to date, the Dow is up 2.6%, trailing both the S&P 500 (up 5.4%) and the Nasdaq Composite (up 11.5%).

The big story last week was Apple’s rise to a market cap of $1 trillion, the first U.S. company to reach that milestone. The stop popped following the company’s earnings announcement and closed the week with a gain of 8.9%. Microsoft — and every other Dow stock — could only sit back and watch the Apple show unfold.

That’s not to say Microsoft didn’t make some news last week. On Tuesday, research firm Gartner reported that Microsoft’s cloud business doubled its growth rate in 2017. The company’s Azure platform raised its market share from 8.7% in 2016 to 13.3% and nearly doubled its cloud revenue to $3.13 billion. Amazon remains the leader in cloud services with 51.8% of the market in 2017, but that’s down from 53.7% in 2016.

While Microsoft’s share price gain trails Apple’s for the year to date, over the past 12 months Microsoft’s stock has risen nearly 49% to Apple’s 33%. With a market cap of more than $850 billion and about 7.775 billion shares outstanding, a share price of around $130 would add Microsoft to the Trillionaire Club.

Microsoft’s shares closed Friday at $108.04 in a 52-week trading range of $71.28 to $111.15. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $121.67.