A gain of 43.11% in 2019 for shares of Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) likely couldn't have happened without big institutional buying. This buying is very unusual and has been happening very recently.

As the move to the cloud ramps up, Microsoft stands to be a major beneficiary. The latest government contract won by the company's cloud arm Azure has only increased demand for the stock. A great way to uncover tomorrow's winners is to look for great stocks seeing big buy activity, and Microsoft could be just the opportunity. 

Smart money managers are always looking to bet on the next outlier stocks … the best in class. For Mapsignals, it's not enough to look at technicals and fundamentals alone. The key lies in the demand for shares … the big money.

I'll go into the fundamental picture later, but the true tell on the near-term trajectory of a stock lies in its trading activity. Simply put, it's all about supply and demand. When demand is higher than supply, the stock rises. When demand is lower than supply, stocks fall. For 2019, Microsoft stock has been a one-way train … higher.

For Mapsignals, when we look for an entry on a leading stock, we look for big money signals. Just to show you what our big money activity signals look like, have a look at all of the big money (unusual institutional) signals Microsoft stock has made over the past year. Focusing on 2019, you can see a lot of buy signals (green) beginning in March and through July. This same signal is currently flagging that big buying is rushing in:

Chart showing the unusual institutional (UI) signals made by Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

In 2019, Microsoft has logged 16 big money buy signals, indicative of buying in the shares (see chart above). This shows that traders are likely thinking that the shares are poised to head higher. These data points suggest that big money appetite for the stock is high.

If you are going to make a bet on the direction of a stock, it is prudent to pay attention to how the shares are trading. Based on history, the odds suggest that Microsoft stock is poised for gains. The big money is always looking for an opportunity to buy shares in fast-growing companies. It's all about playing the odds by not fighting the trend.

Mapsignals' goal is to identify tomorrow's top stocks today. We're basically looking for outlier companies with healthy fundamentals accompanied by big money signals (outsized institutional activity). We are looking for the big money bets because big money moves stocks. By studying these data points, we can make an educated guess as to which stocks institutions are trafficking in and marry this information with fundamentally sound companies. We want the odds on our side when looking for the highest-quality stocks.

When we decide on a long candidate, we consider leaders that have a history of technical outperformance. When they show leadership, we see these as opportunities. The following are a few areas in which Microsoft stock has grabbed our attention year to date (YTD):

  • YTD outperformance vs. market: +18.90% vs. SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY
  • YTD outperformance vs. NASDAQ 100 ETF: +13.41% vs. Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ)
  • Recent big money buy signals

Now, we take it a step further and score the best stocks showing big money trading activity. Below, you can see that Microsoft has a big history of making buy signals for Mapsignals since 2018. The main takeaway is how the buy signals tend to last for a while when they get started. We think a new round of buy signals could be upon us soon:

Chart showing the top-rated buy signals made by Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

On top of a long-term technical picture that is strong, one should also look under the hood to see if the fundamental picture supports a long-term investment. As you can see, Microsoft's numbers are very strong:

  • Three-year revenue growth rate: +14.24%
  • Three-year earnings growth rate: +48.46%

Microsoft shares are breaking out as the market is at new highs. The company is quietly gaining with demand for its shares. We like the long-term story of the stock. The narrative for Microsoft and other high-quality software/cloud stocks is one of a growth cycle in the years ahead.

We are always on the lookout for great companies pressing higher year after year. The best companies in a group tend to outperform over the long run. Software stocks have been one of the strongest groups in recent years. All of this points to a long-term opportunity for the stock.

The Bottom Line

Microsoft stock is breaking out with buying pressure. Our big money indicator is signaling that we should take notice. Shares could be positioned for more upside. Given the historical growth in share price and growing fundamentals, this stock could be worth a spot in a growth-oriented portfolio. 

Disclosure: The author holds a long position in Microsoft stock at the time of publication.