Technology stocks drove the market higher today in an expansion of last week’s subdued but important “Microsoft rally” on that company’s earnings.
With earnings from Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOG), and Amazon (AMZN) on tap on Wednesday and Thursday, the odds are that technology news will be enough to keep the market in an upward tend until the Federal Reserve announces its interest rate move on July 31.
On Thursday July 18 Microsoft (MSFT) reported a blow-out fiscal fourth quarter. Revenue for the period that ended in June climbed 12%to $33.72 billion, easily beating the company’s guidance of $32.2 billion to $32.9 billion. Operating income increased by 20% to $12.4 billion. Gross margins expanded by 150 basis points to 69.1%.
Although all segments reported growth, the most impressive results came from the Intelligent Cloud unit where revenue grew by 21% and operating income rose by 19% year over year. Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure saw revenue up 68% in constant currently.
But even Personal Computing saw revenue growth–6% in constant currency.
Normalizing for changes in taxes, BMOL calculated that free cash flow for fiscal 2019 grew by 23% to $39.7 billion.
Shares of Microsoft initially climbed 3.2% on Friday before sliding lower to close up just 0.2% for the day. The shares were up more strongly today with a gain of 1.32%.
Today the Standard & Poor’s 500 edged up 0.28% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher by 0.07%. The NASDSQ Composite moved ahead by 0.71%.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) closed up 1.15% and the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF gained 0.21%.
Shares of Facebook (FB) were up 2.00%. The company reports earnings on Wednesday after the close of the New York market.
Microsoft is a member of my Jubak Picks Portfolio. The shares are up 36.49% since I added them to the portfolio on June 14, 2018. As of today, July 22, I’m raising my target price to $155 from the prior $118.