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Microsoft’s earnings round-up: Results beat and cloud growth offered Nasdaq a lifeline


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The Nasdaq seems on track to recover all of its overnight losses, supported by a 4.4% after-market gain in Microsoft’s share price and an 11.5% after-market surge in Alphabet’s share price.

USSource: Getty
 

Written by: Yeap Jun Rong | Market Strategist, Singapore
 
Publication date: 

Alphabet and Microsoft’s share price surged post-results

Following the initial jitters around Meta’s results, after-market earnings from Alphabet and Microsoft offered Wall Street a lifeline, with US equity futures pointing to a recovery in risk sentiments.

The Nasdaq seems on track to recover all of its overnight losses, supported by a 4.4% after-market gain in Microsoft’s share price and an 11.5% after-market surge in Alphabet’s share price. The other Magnificent Seven stocks seem set for a positive open as well, with Nvidia up 2.4% and Amazon up 3.1%.

Microsoft’s 4Q 2024 round-up

Microsoft's 4Q 2024 round-upSource: Refinitiv

Microsoft’s 4Q 2024 results delivered both a top and bottom-line beat. Revenue was 1.8% higher than consensus at $61.9 billion, up 17% year-on-year.

Earnings per share (EPS) has beaten expectations by 4.3%, coming in at $2.94 and up 20% from the $2.45 a year ago. Net profit margin improved from last year as well, coming in at 35.5% versus the previous 34.6%.

Stronger cloud performance offered reassurances

Notably, markets took comfort with the further growth in its cloud division. Revenue from Azure and other cloud services grew stronger-than-expected at 31% versus the 30% prior, which is on track to outpace its top competitors – Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services.

Other segments continue to hold up as well, with a 17.5% year-on-year in its ‘More Personal Computing’ segment showing further recovery in consumer demand for personal computers (PCs) after a lacklustre year. Its productivity software has been very much stable as well, with the segment growing 11.8%.

Forward guidance was net-positive overall

Revenue guidance for 4Q 2024 was a tad lower-than-expected at $64 billion versus the $64.5 billion consensus, but markets may be more forgiving given the company’s positive outlook around artificial intelligence (AI) demand moving forward.

“Currently, near-term AI demand is a bit higher than our available capacity”

While capital expenditures will continue to increase to keep up with the tech race, Microsoft expects its FY2025 operating margin to decline "only one point year-over-year, even with its significant cloud and AI investments". This offers reassurances that heavy spending on infrastructure will pay off in the near term in terms of higher revenue and will not be an expensive long-term bet.

Technical analysis: Microsoft’s share price defending daily cloud support

The after-market surge in Microsoft’s share price may suggest that buyers have successfully defended the lower edge of its daily Ichimoku Cloud support at the US$398.40 level, which may likely keep the broader upward trend intact. This marked a key support confluence, which held prices up on at least three occasions since the start of the year.

Its daily relative strength index (RSI) is back to retest the key 50 level after breaking below the mid-point to its lowest level September 2023. Any reversion back above the level will bode well for the upward trend to continue. The US$398.40 level will serve as key support to hold, while on the upside, its record high at the US$430 level will be on watch as key resistance to overcome.

Microsoft CorpSource: IG charts

 

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