Today I posted my two-hundred-and-twenty-ninth YouTube video: Quick Pick Microsoft . This week’s Quick Pick: Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Microsoft came out with earnings on Tuesday (shortly after filming this video). The earnings were expected to be disappointing as their revenue from their cloud service, Azure has slowed and the growth rate has been declining since September 2021. Microsoft’s earnings report initially surprised investors and the stock rose more than 4% in after-hours trading. But the next day, investors focused on the declining growth in Azure revenue and negative guidance for the future. The stock fell 0.59% at the end of the day. I’m suggesting buying Microsoft on the dip. Microsoft has invested $10B in OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT. OpenAI’s software can, among other things, create entire, fully-sourced essays, and research answers to questions using a simple search. This AI software is a new technology that has been looking for a way to be monetized, and Microsoft has an easy answer. Bringing ChatGPT to their already established suite of word processing tools, spreadsheets, and (let’s not forget) Microsfot’s search engine Bing. Microsoft opens up an immediate use for AI that will enhance the company’s legacy revenue stream. I’m buying on this dip with an eye to a future that features OpenAI.
Yesterday, shares of Microsoft (MSFT) rose by more than 4.6% on an earnings report for the December quarter that showed the company slightly beating analyst estimates on earnings and training only slightly on revenue. Today, investors and traders had second thoughts. The stock was down as much as 4.6% in morning trading (That’s down from the close yesterday and not from the after-hours price.) The stock ended the day down just 059% but that was enough to erase all the after-hours gains from the previous day. So what caused the second thoughts?
After the market close today, Microsoft (MSFT) announced earnings of $2.32 a share, just beating Wall Street forecasts of $2.30 a share. That was a 6.5% drop from the December 2021 quarter, however. Revenue missed expectations at $52.7 billion versus a forecasted $52.9 billion. But the big news was that revenues for Azure, the company’s key cloud computing software unit, rose just 31% year over year in the quarter. That badly trailed Wall Street forecasts that called for 36.8% year-over-year growth in the December quarter.
Google’s parent Alphabet (GOOG) will cut 12,000 jobs, or 6% of its workforce, the company said today, Friday, January 20. This comes after Microsoft (MSFT), announced earlier this week that it would cut 10,000 jobs or 5% of its workforce. The two companies are gearing up to go head to head in a battle to see if artificial intelligence chatbots can disrupt Google’s stranglehold on Internet search.
Today I posted my two-hundred-and-twenty-fifth YouTube video: Get Ready for the Tech Earnings Flood. This week is a bit of a breather. Last week ended with bank earnings and next week begins the flood of tech stock earnings. This week we’ve got Alcoa, which used to be a market indicator but that is no longer the case (thankfully, since Wall Street estimates have them at a loss of $.75 for this quarter.) Netflix is up next on Thursday, January 19. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) will show +$.44 this quarter versus +$1.33 last year at this time. I think this will likely be the trend with tech stocks. Lower earnings and slower revenue growth year-over-year. 2022 has been tough for technology companies and earnings will likely be lower for the fourth quarter than in 2021. Look closely at future estimates and guidance. Where are they going from here? (the bad news for the fourth quarter is widely expected.) Microsoft will report earnings on January 24, shortly after announcing it will be laying off 10,000 employees. After that, we’ll get Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), on January 26, and then the floodgates open with more and more technology companies announcing earnings and setting the tone for the stock market at the start of 2023.
Earnings. Earnings. And more earnings. From the big bellwether technology stocks: Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, and Alphabet. Wall Street has already slashed earnings forecast for these stocks so there’s a good chance these companies will report earnings that surpass expectations even if only by a few pennies. By and large, though, these reports will show either an absolute drop from the September quarter of 2021 or, at best, a slowing of revenue and earnings growth. Key to the market’s reaction will be what these companies say about expectations for the next quarter or two. Will they emphasize what are already clear slowdowns in PC and smartphone sales? Will they speak to the elephant in the room–the U.S/China trade war? Will they say that a strong dollar plus inflation is cutting into sales outside the United States and U.S. sales to domestic customers who are showing signs of “price fatigue”?
On Tuesday, April 26, Microsoft (MSFT) reported net income of $16.73 billion or $2.22 share for the company’s fiscal third quarter. That was up from net income of $15.46 billion or $2.03 a share in the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Wall Street analysts had projected earnings of $2.19. The company reported revenue of $49.36 billion in the third quarter, compared with $41.7 billion a year earlier. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $49.05 billion. For the fiscal year that starts on July 1 Microsoft forecast double-digit revenue growth. The company’s shares closed up 4.81% on Wednesday, April 27. Microsoft is a member of my Jubak Picks Portfolio where it is up 179.25% from my initial buy on June 4, 2018. As of April 27 I’m raising my target price on Microsoft to $352 a share from the prior $155.
Going into this earnings season, the hope was that strong, surprisingly strong perhaps, earnings from the big growth stocks would put a stop to the selling. Earnings would be strong enough to convince investors that the market wasn’t over-valued since at these growth rates stocks would be seen to be quick growing into current extended valuations That hasn’t exactly worked so far. But this week the earnings story from growth stocks hits its stride. If the companies reporting this week can’t make the case for growth stock earnings, there probably isn’t a growth stock story to be made in the light of Federal Reserve interest rate increases, supply chain disruptions, and fears of a recession.
The reaction to Microsoft’s (MSFT) earnings report yesterday after the market close tells you that this market is poised at an earnings inflection point. Earnings, especially technology company earnings, are going to be strong this quarter, but earnings growth rate will be down from the big Pandemic recovery growth rates of 2021. Will the solid earnings growth this quarter be enough to stabilize this market? Which brings me to Microsoft.
Last night after the close of trading, IBM (IBM) reported earnings (excluding one-time items) of $3.35 a share for the December quarter. Analysts were looking for $3.23. Gross margin was 56.9%, beating the 56.1% analysts expected. Which leads to the important question of whether BIG TECH earnings and revenue reports, due in the next week, will stabilize stock prices/
I’m starting up my videos on JubakAM.com again–this time using YouTube as a platform. My ninetieth YouTube video “3 Picks on Tech Stock Guidance” went up today.
In the first section of this Special Report: When will the selling stop? When to buy What to buy” posted back on January 11, I said that I’d look to buy in tiers. And thus stagger my buying to take account of any earnings season selling and any volatility around the Fed’s January 26 meeting. In the first tier, I said, back on January 11, I said I’d look for former momentum and earnings growth favorites, especially in the technology sector, that had taken big hits in the selling from the November 19 high. The three first tier buys were Nvidia (NVDA), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and and the first three buys back on January 11 were Nvidia (NVDA), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, and Adobe (ADBE). I said I’d name my second tier picks after bank earnings. Which means today.