Last night, October 23, after the market close, Microsoft (MSFT) reported earnings and revenue beats for its fiscal first quarter. Revenue climbed 14% year over year, beating Wall Street forecasts by $860 million. Earnings of $1.38 a share exceeded Wall Street projections by 14 cents a share.
In its after-hours conference call Microsoft guided to double-digit revenue growth for the 2020 fiscal year and a slight increase in operating margin year over year.
The most closely watched of Microsoft’s businesses–its Intelligent Cloud segment–showed 63% year over year growth for its Azure platform. That compared to growth of 64% in the pervious quarter. That reassured those investors worried that growth in Azure revenue might be set for a significant deceleration. In its guidance for the upcoming second quarter of fiscal 2020, Microsoft guided to Intelligent Cloud revenue of $11.5 to $11.45 billion, slightly ahead of the Wall Street consensus expectations of $11.23 billion. That would be a sequential quarterly increase for the $10.85 billion in Intelligent Cloud revenue in the first quarter of fiscal $2020 just reported.
All this is good news for Microsoft shares, up 2.79% today as of 3 p.m. New York time.
But it is also good news for the market as a whole and especially for technology stocks. The technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite was up 0.68% as of 3 p.m. and the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was ahead 1.39%. That compares to the gain of 0.08% for the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the drop of 0.20% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at that tick of the clock.
Microsoft’s earnings are also a good set up for Amazon (AMZN), which reports after the close today, October 24, and for Apple (AAPL), which reports next week on October 31.
There’s some worry about Amazon’s earnings report. The company’s heavy capital spending lately could well produce another one of the “Amazon quarters” with lots of revenue and not much in the way of earnings. It would help with those fears and also with worries that growth is slowing for Amazon’s online retail core, if Amazon’s web unit, AWS, showed solid growth. The numbers for Microsoft’s Azure make that seem possible.
Elsewhere in the market today, gold climbed 0.70% to $1506.20 an ounce and silver gained 1.48% to $17.84 a ounce. The dollar gained with the Dollar Spot Index (DXY) climbing 0.16%.
Yields on the 10-year and 2-year Treasuries remained mostly unchanged at 1.76% and 1.58%, respectively.
Microsoft is a member of my Jubak Picks portfolio. The shares are up 38.08% since I added them to that portfolio on June 14, 2018.