Microsoft will ride artificial intelligence, cloud computing to higher share price, Morgan Stanley says

Key Points
  • Morgan Stanley raises its price target for Microsoft to $80 from $72, saying the company will report earnings above expectations next year.
  • The firm also reaffirmed its overweight rating on the technology giant, calling Microsoft's Azure a "public cloud winner."
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It's not just Amazon that will make money from cloud computing and artificial intelligence, according to Wall Street.

Morgan Stanley believes Microsoft's Azure business will thrive riding the same hot technology trends.

The firm reiterated its overweight rating on Microsoft shares, predicting the company will report profits ahead of expectations next year due to cloud computing demand.

Microsoft's "top line drivers include the Azure (Microsoft emerging as a public cloud winner), data center (share gains and positive pricing trends), and O365 [Office 365] (base growth and per user pricing lift)," analyst Keith Weiss wrote in a note to clients Monday.

"With a strengthening secular positioning and rationalization of underperforming portions of the solution portfolio, Microsoft is back to showing durable double-digit EPS growth — and investors should be willing to pay a higher multiple for that growth," he added.

Weiss raised his price target for Microsoft to $80 from $72, representing 14 percent upside from Friday's close.

The analyst cited how the growing "machine learning" [artificial intelligence] trend will spur demand for the company's Azure cloud computing services and it could add up to $110 billion in market value for Microsoft.

As a result, Weiss estimates Microsoft will generate fiscal 2018 earnings per share of $3.45 compared with the Wall Street consensus for $3.32.

"Windows 10 gives Microsoft an improved story on tablets, a new leg of rev. growth and downstream opps. for synergy with the Surface, Xbox, and the device ecosystem," he wrote.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.