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Microsoft’s Growth Prospects In AI Propel Stock To Record High

Microsoft’s shares reached a new record high after JPMorgan Chase analysts praised the company’s growth potential in artificial intelligence (AI). The stock rose by 3.2% to close at $348.10, surpassing its previous all-time high in November 2021 and for the record, Microsoft is now the second most valuable company in the world after Apple with a market cap of about $2.5tr. This increase came alongside a broad rally in U.S. indexes following the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold off on raising interest rates.

The significance of AI has been evident throughout the year, particularly with the release of the ChatGPT chatbot by OpenAI, backed by Microsoft. Tech companies have been quick to incorporate AI into their products and features, emphasizing its ability to drive cost savings amid concerns of an impending recession.

Microsoft has emerged as a major beneficiary of the success of ChatGPT and related products. In addition to its investment in OpenAI, Microsoft provides the computing power and holds an exclusive license for OpenAI’s models, including the GPT-4 large language model.

The integration of OpenAI tools into Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Windows OS has showcased the company’s commitment to leveraging AI technology. During an event in February, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed excitement about the developments in the industry.

Investors expect to see these advancements converted to Microsoft’s revenue. In April, Microsoft’s finance chief, Amy Hood, projected a 26% to 27% year-over-year growth for Azure cloud in the fiscal fourth quarter, with 1% attributed to AI services. Hood further elaborated during a discussion with Microsoft’s technology chief, Kevin Scott, stating that the next-generation AI business would be the fastest-growing $10 billion business in the company’s history.

Analysts at JPMorgan were optimistic and raised their price target for Microsoft’s stock to $350 from $315. Despite the challenges Microsoft faces with cloud optimization affecting Azure’s growth, they highlighted the company’s investments in Security, Teams, Power Apps, and OpenAI/ChatGPT as crucial for long-term success.

Microsoft’s stock has rallied by 46% this year, recovering from the losses experienced in 2022 when investors were concerned about rising interest rates and economic headwinds, leading to a shift away from technology stocks. Despite this, the renewed enthusiasm around AI and cost-cutting measures have lifted spirits.

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