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Here's Why Microsoft Stock Was Up 11% in June

By Jon Quast – Jul 2, 2020 at 1:49PM

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The company did so well during the pandemic, it's making this major strategy change.

What happened

Shares of Microsoft Corporation (MSFT -0.20%) increased another 11.1% in June, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. On June 17, the company declared a regular quarterly dividend, a reminder its business is still thriving even during tough economic times.

With investments in personal computers, cloud, and video games, Microsoft continued to excel even while people were sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Unsurprisingly, its stock has greatly outperformed the S&P 500 during this time and over the past year.

MSFT Chart

MSFT data by YCharts

So what

However, not everything is business as usual for Microsoft; the company just announced a major change in strategy. Its physical retail stores were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Undeterred, the company pressed on. It's been conducting online workshops and driving sales via e-commerce operations. And overall, it's been a success.

Microsoft has been so successful that it's closing physical retail locations for good. This will cost the company $450 million as it writes down assets and gets hit with impairment charges. But it's proved it can do business without these spaces, and therefore believes it's best to make this change now.

Microsoft's strategy change didn't cause the stock to outperform in June, since the announcement didn't come until June 26. It just appears investors realize the company's core products are being used as much as ever during the pandemic, leading many to stick with this safe stock.

A hand arranges stacks of wood blocks with pictures of arrows pointing up.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Microsoft is almost tied with Apple as the world's largest public company, which to me underscores the need for investors to look beyond an 11% one-month return -- this company will be around for a long time. However, with a nearly $1.6 trillion market capitalization, it's hard for new business endeavors to move the needle higher.

That said, Microsoft has over $130 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. And it spends 13% of revenue on its research and development department, which employs 47,000 people. That's a lot of resources at its disposal to make some truly world-changing innovations. 

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jon Quast has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Microsoft and recommends the following options: short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft and long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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