Going into yesterday’s earnings report from Microsoft, I felt torn.
On the one hand, the stock had hit an all time record high on the strong guidance for the June quarter back in April. How much higher could the stock go? Would guidance for the September quarter prove disappointing?
On the other hand, the growth trend in Microsoft’s cloud business was extremely powerful and the company sure felt like it would continue. That argued for holding.
With trepidation I held. Which in the event turned out to be the right decision. Today the shares closed up 1.79% at $106.27. And I’m raising my target price to $118 a share in in my Jubak Picks Portfolio from the previous $110 a share.
For the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, Microsoft reported earnings of $1.14 a share, six cents a share above analyst projections. Revenue climbed 17.5% year over year to $30.09 billion versus projections for $29.23 billion in revenue.
As in the March quarter, the most closely watch business, the Intelligent Cloud unit, showed strong growth with revenue up 23% year over year to $9.6 billion , well above forecasts for $8.95 billion to $9.15 billion. Revenue from the company’s cloud platform Azure grew by 89%. Revenue from the company’s commercial cloud business was more than $23 billion for the year. Gross margins in that business grew to 57%.
The company raised guidance for the next quarter (the first quarter of Microsoft’s fiscal year) to revenue of $27.35 billion to $8.05 billion. That was just a bit higher than the consensus projection of $27.4 billion for the quarter but any improvement in guidance is actually a very solid achievement given how high expectations are for revenue growth.
Microsoft is certainly worth holding on that trend.