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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Microsoft hits $3 trillion value, cementing strength of AI rally

A Microsoft store in New York.    (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)
By Ryan Vlastelica Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp. achieved a historic $3 trillion market valuation on Wednesday, in the latest example of how optimism over artificial intelligence has fueled a seemingly unstoppable advance in the software giant.

The stock rose as much as 1.3% to $403.95, resulting in a market capitalization of $3 trillion. The threshold cements Microsoft’s status as one of the largest public stocks.

It briefly surpassed Apple Inc. in value – which last year became the first company to hit $3 trillion – but subsequently dropped back below the iPhone maker, with the two trading places ever since.

The Redmond, Washington-based company is one of the so-called Magnificent 7 that fueled the market’s advance over 2023, gaining about 57%. The advance continued into this year, with a 7.4% rise that exceeds the 4.6% gain of the Nasdaq 100 Index. Microsoft accounts for 7.3% of the S&P 500 Index.

Much of the gain reflects investor enthusiasm over AI and its potential to accelerate growth in both earnings and revenue.

Microsoft, through its partnership with OpenAI Inc., is seen as one of the biggest beneficiaries of AI.

It has released AI-supported services to customers.

Demand for AI services, along with cloud computing to support it, is projected to support Microsoft’s long-term growth trends.

Revenue is expected to rise nearly 15% in its 2024 fiscal year, faster than the overall tech sector, according to data from Bloomberg Intelligence.

This kind of growth has resulted in Microsoft being one of the most popular stocks on Wall Street. More than 90% of the analysts tracked by Bloomberg recommend buying shares, and the average analyst price target points to upside of about 7% from current levels.