Analysts: Microsoft Is a Risk Worth Taking and 3 More Research Notes to Contemplate

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): Evercore upgraded Microsoft to Overweight from Equal Weight. The firm views the risk/reward ratio as favorable given steady enterprise business trends, Windows and PC sentiment being at or near a bottom, valuation attributing little value to Windows and E&D, and upcoming catalysts that include the September 9 investor day and increasing investor activism. All of this resulted in a price target of $38.

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Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK): After Jack in the Box reported higher-than-expected earnings per share but comparable sales that Oppenheimer viewed as “lackluster,” the firm is upbeat on the company’s outlook for its full-year 2014. It recommends buying the stock on any weakness before the company’s 11:30 a.m. EST conference call and keeps an Outperform rating on the shares.

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Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX): Sterne Agee downgraded Crocs to Underperform from Neutral. The firm believes the lack of senior leadership has led to poor performance and notes numerous managers and marketing directors have left the company. The analyst also has concerns regarding Crocs’s relationship with Backjoy.com, which is run by former Crocs executives. The price target is $10.

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Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT): Pacific Crest expects Applied Materials to provide weak fourth-quarter guidance, but it predicts that the company will generate significant growth in 2015. The firm thinks the company can benefit from share gains and market expansion, and has kept an Outperform rating on the stock, encouraging long-term investors to buy.

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