NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) shares rose to a new record high close on Thursday as market optimism about the prospects of artificial intelligence (AI) has helped buoy the technology giant to a record market capitalization of $2.59 trillion.
Microsoft is seen as a leader in the adoption of AI technology in the software industry owing to its huge investment in OpenAI, the San Francisco-based startup that owns the widely popular chatbot ChatGPT.
Last month, Microsoft began rolling out a host of AI upgrades, including ChatGPT, to Azure cloud services as well as its search engine Bing - in a move that seeks to challenge the dominance of Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google.
Microsoft's shares closed up 3.2% at $348.10 per share on Thursday. The stock, which has gained more than 45% in the year to date, reached its prior record close of $343.11 on Nov. 19, 2021. The stock's intraday record high was $349.67 on Nov. 22, 2021.
In addition, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shares also achieved a record high close of $186.01 on Thursday, while shares of graphics chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA.O) set a fresh intraday record of $432.89.
Earlier Thursday, JPMorgan analysts raised their price target on Microsoft's stock, citing AI driving demand for the company's products. Of the 53 analysts covering Microsoft, 44 recommended buying the shares and the median price target is $340, according to Refinitiv data.
"We reaffirm our bullish-outlier viewpoint on generative AI and continue to see it driving a resurgence of confidence in key software franchises," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note to clients.
Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; editing by Lance Tupper and Jonathan Oatis
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