Microsoft (MSFT) managed to beat Wall Street earnings estimates for its fiscal first quarter, reporting earnings of $2.35 a share versus the $2.29 expected by analysts after the market close on October 25.
But the stock is down strongly today, October 26, on the company’s forecast of slowing growth for the next quarter and a decline in growth from its Intelligent Cloud business unit.
The company said it earned $2.35 a share on sales of $50.1 billion in the quarter ended September 30. Analysts had expected earnings of $2.31 a share on sales of $49.7 billion. Year-over-year basis, Microsoft earnings rose 4% and sales increased 11%.
For the current quarter, Microsoft expects sales of $52.35 billion to $53.35 billion. The midpoint of $52.85 billion is well below Wall Street’s target of $56.2 billion for the December quarter.
This quarter Microsoft Cloud revenue was $25.7 billion, up 24% year over year, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said yesterday in the company’s earnings news release. “We continue to see healthy demand across our commercial businesses including another quarter of solid bookings as we deliver compelling value for customers.”
Investors have been fretting for quarters as growth has slowed for Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business, which includes its Azure cloud computing platform. For the just reported fiscal first quarter of 2023, Microsoft reported Intelligent Cloud growth of 20%, far lower than the 31% growth the segment saw in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. Growth for Azure fell to 35% versus 50% in the same quarter last year.
As of the close shares of Microsoft were down 7.72%.