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News Breaks
April 25, 2014
07:21 EDTMSFTMicrosoft price target raised to $47 from $42.50 at Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse reiterates Microsoft's Outperform rating and raised its price target to $47.50 following the Q3 report. The firm said the key takeaway was Office 365 momentum, which it views as a major positive, and sees multiple near-term opportunities to unlock shareholder value that include cost structure rationalization, potential divestitures, increased buybacks/dividends and capital structure optimization.
News For MSFT From The Last 14 Days
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January 28, 2016
16:00 EDTMSFTOptions Update; January 28, 2016
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures down 84c to 25.21 Option volume leaders: FB AAPL MSFT AMZN NFLX BAC BABA QCOM AAL MU C RIG
15:05 EDTMSFTEarnings Watch: Analysts more bullish on Microsoft since last quarter's blowout
Microsoft (MSFT) is scheduled to report results of its second quarter of fiscal year 2016 after the market close on Thursday, January 28, with a conference call scheduled for 5:30 pm ET. Microsoft, a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sells and licenses software to consumers and businesses, offers cloud computing and other business services, and markets computer, phone and gaming hardware. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of 71c on revenue of $25.26B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 66c-75c on revenue of $24.62B-$25.92B. On its last earnings conference call, Microsoft said it expected Q2 productivity revenue of $6.6B-$6.67B, Q2 revenue for intelligent cloud of $6.2B-$6.3B and Q2 personal computing revenue of $12B-$12.4B. LAST QUARTER: On October 22, Microsoft reported first quarter earnings per share of 67c, beating the consensus analyst forecast of 59c. The company's revenue came in at $21.7B, topping the consensus estimate of $21.03B. NEWS: On December 17, Microsoft announced a new joint venture that will license, deploy, manage and optimize Windows 10 for China's government agencies and certain state owned enterprises and provide ongoing support and services for these customers. That announcement followed Microsoft inking a partnership with Baidu (BIDU) to make it easy for their customers to upgrade to Windows 10 while providing local browsing and search experiences, and universal apps. On January 4, Microsoft said in a blog post that operating system Windows 10 was currently active on over 200M devices, bringing the company closer to its goal of seeing Windows 10 active on more than 1B devices. STREET RESEARCH: On the day after the company's last earnings report, BofA Merrill Lynch analyst Kash Rangan upgraded Microsoft to Buy from Neutral, saying he believes the company was at a turning point with its operating income headed for growth following four years of flattish performance. At the time, Rangan increased his price target on the stock to $63 from $46. On November 20, Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a note to investors that actions taken by Google parent Alphabet (GOOG) and comments made by its executives indicated that the tech giant plans to make a major push in the cloud infrastructure market. Based on a comment from executive Urs Holzle that the company's revenue from the cloud could surpass its ad revenue by 2020, Sandler estimated that the company is seeking to boost its cloud revenue to $100B by 2020. Google's push in the cloud is negative for Microsoft, but it will take years for Google to build up its cloud business to the point where it's competitive with Microsoft's cloud offering, Azure, the analyst contended. On November 30, Raymond James analyst Michael Turits upgraded Microsoft two notches to Strong Buy from Hold, predicting that the tech giant will become one of the few large scale cloud vendors that can succeed across the industry's three main segments. Microsoft will emerge alongside Amazon (AMZN) and Google as part of a small group of "hyperscale" cloud vendors that can combine Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service, predicted Turits. Forecasting that Microsoft's cloud revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6% between fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2018, the analyst estimated that the company's overall profit growth would accelerate to at least 8% over the long-term. Moreover, the growth of Microsoft's Office business appears to be accelerating, despite competition from Google, said Turits, who set a $62 price target on the shares. On January 13, Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss upgraded Microsoft to Overweight, the firm's equivalent of a "Buy" rating, from Equal Weight. Microsoft is emerging as a public cloud winner, is gaining share in the data center market and Office 365 is seeing its base grow and its per user pricing increase, all of which set up the company to resume earnings growth after a five year period of stagnation, Weiss told investors. The analyst, who believes Microsoft's earnings growth and "aggressive" return of capital to shareholders should help its multiple expand, raised his price target on the stock to $66 from $57. This morning, UBS analyst Brent Thill said that given Apple's (AAPL) recent negative commentary around macro uncertainty he was lowering his second half of the year estimates for Microsoft on the potential for more conservative guidance when it issues its Q2 report after the closing bell. Thill trimmed his price target on Microsoft to $58 from $60, but said he remains confident the company is making the right moves to the cloud and kept a Buy rating on shares. PRICE ACTION: On the day after the company's last quarterly report, Microsoft shares jumped 10.4% to $53.03. In late afternoon trading ahead of Thursday's report, Microsoft advanced 1.25% to $51.86.
14:32 EDTMSFTMicrosoft January weekly 52 straddle priced for 5.5% movement into Q2
14:29 EDTMSFTNotable companies reporting after market close
Notable companies reporting after the market close, with earnings consensus, include Microsoft (MSFT), consensus 71c... Amazon (AMZN), consensus $1.56... Amgen (AMGN), consensus $2.29... Electronic Arts (EA), consensus $1.81... Skyworks (SWKS), consensus $1.58... Western Digital (WDC), consensus $1.54... Visa (V), consensus 68c... Flextronics (FLEX), consensus 31c... NetSuite (N), consensus 4c... Fortinet (FTNT), consensus 18c... Synaptics (SYNA), consensus $1.58... Proofpoint (PFPT), consensus (11c).
12:41 EDTMSFTMicrosoft technical notes before earnings
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10:44 EDTMSFTStocks with call strike movement; AMZN MSFT
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09:38 EDTMSFTActive equity options trading on open
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08:50 EDTMSFTUBS trims Microsoft estimates for second half on macro uncertainty
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08:04 EDTMSFTHarman CEO: On track to deliver full year plan
"I am pleased to announce our 11th consecutive quarter of top and bottom line growth. Our strong first half results were in-line with our expectations. While we are closely monitoring macroeconomic developments, at this time, we are on track to deliver on our full year plan," said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman (HAR) Chairman, President and CEO. "HARMAN continues to innovate and bring industry-first solutions to market. We are also partnering with key technology leaders such as Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) and Under Armour (UA) to capitalize on the opportunities presented by IoT for automotive, enterprise and consumer electronics. In addition, our acquisition of TowerSec will strengthen our cybersecurity leadership position for automotive."
06:32 EDTMSFTMicrosoft volatility elevated into Q2 and outlook
Microsoft January weekly call option implied volatility is at 97, February is at 38; compared to its 52-week range of 15 to 39, suggesting large near term price movement into the expected release of Q2 results today after the market close.
January 27, 2016
13:47 EDTMSFTVMware tanks after providing lower guidance amid Cloud transition
Shares of virtualization software maker VMware (VMW) are falling after providing guidance, confirming layoffs and announcing executive changes. WHAT'S NEW: After the close of trading on Tuesday, the software company that is 80% owned by EMC (EMC) and provides software for corporate data centers, announced fourth quarter financial results while confirming earlier reports of layoffs and announcing a new chief financial officer. VMware, along with parent company EMC, is in the midst of a proposed acquisition by Dell. The company's Q4 earnings per share and revenue came in at $1.26 and $1.87B, respectively, slightly better than analysts were expecting; however, the company's view for fiscal year 2016 EPS and revenue of $4.07-$4.16 and $6.8B-$6.9B, respectively, were well below the $4.20 and $7.21B analysts are expecting. VMware also guided first quarter EPS to 83c-85c, also below analysts' 92c consensus. Along with its results, the company confirmed earlier reports that it intended to reduce its workforce by 800 and plans to take a charge of between $55M-$65M related to this action over the course of the first half of 2016. The company also announced that its CFO Jonathan Chadwick is leaving and will be replaced by EMC CFO Zane Rowe. WHAT'S NOTABLE: On its quarterly conference call discussing its earnings, VMware company referred to its growth in "emerging" products and businesses including NSX and User Computing and Virtual SAN, all of which grew strongly over the quarter. The company said it hopes its newer products are picking up the slack due to the declining growth in its mature "compute products." Pat Gelsinger, VMware's chief executive officer, "We recognize that our blockbuster compute products are reaching maturity and will represent a decreasing portion of our business going forward." The company is upgrading its Cloud strategy to better compete with leaders like Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT), which provide Cloud services via the internet and make the corporate data center that VMware focuses on less necessary. ANALYSTS' VIEWS: Summit Research analyst Srini Nandury downgraded VMware to Hold and lowered his price target for the shares to $40 from $80 following the company's quarterly results. The company's business will get worse before it gets better, Nandury told investors in a research note. Another downgrade came from research firm Baird's analyst Jayson Noland, who cut his rating on VMware to Neutral and lowered his price target to $60 from $80. Noland said the core vSphere business is facing incremental public cloud headwinds and substantial uncertainty related to the Class V common stock being issued to finance the EMC acquisition. Providing a more constructive view was UBS who said the current valuation levels of VMware offer a significant opportunity for patient investors. The firm noted the company will temper spending and focus on leveraging public clouds, which should provide a tailwind to both capital and operating expenditures. UBS reiterated its Buy rating and $72 price target on VMware. PRICE ACTION: Shares of VMware are down approximately 40% since the Dell-EMC deal was announced last October and are down over 9% to $44.84 in afternoon trading. OTHERS TO WATCH. Other companies in the cloud computing space include Amazon, Microsoft and Citrix Systems (CTXS).
12:02 EDTMSFTBox, Microsoft expand alliance to deliver better cloud experiences
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10:07 EDTMSFTMicrosoft announces launch of News Pro app
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07:59 EDTMSFTMicrosoft volatility elevated into Q2 and outlook
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January 26, 2016
18:35 EDTMSFTMicrosoft executive: Surface glitch during NFL game caused by stadium error
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16:00 EDTMSFTOptions Update; January 26, 2016
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11:13 EDTMSFTActive options; AAPL BAC FB NFLX C MSFT TWTR VALE FCX COH XOM AMZN
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10:34 EDTMSFTBattleground: BofA says sell NetSuite, DA Davidson still bullish
Over the last two days, analysts have issued mixed views on NetSuite (N), with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Stephens downgrading the shares, while research firm DA Davidson argued in its own note to investors that the company should report better than expected fourth quarter results on January 28. NetSuite develops cloud based financial and enterprise resource planning, or ERP, tools for businesses. BEARISH TAKE: Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Kash Rangan downgraded NetSuite to Underperform, the firm's equivalent of a sell rating, from Neutral today. The company has increased its sales force by about 40%, but its billings are accelerating by only about 30%, the analyst stated. Moreover, NetSuite's operating margins are expected to come in at only about 4% in 2016, making it difficult for investors to value the stock on a price to earnings or enterprise value to free cash flow basis, Rangan believes. The stock may face obstacles if its billings growth doesn't accelerate significantly or if its operating margin doesn't increase to 10%-12%, Rangan wrote. Meanwhile, the company is facing tough competition from Microsoft (MSFT) in the mid-market and from other players at the lower end, according to the analyst, who cut his price target on the name to $80 from $95. Also writing that NetSuite is facing increased competition, Stephens analyst Alex Zukin yesterday downgraded the stock to Equal Weigh from Overweight. These competitive pressures along with changes to the company's organizational structure, the loss of a number of its "marquee" customers, and its premium valuation, led to the downgrade, Zukin stated. He slashed his price target on the stock to $75 from $100. BULLISH TAKE: NetSuite's Q4 results should beat expectations, with revenue coming in at $207.6M, above the company's guidance range of $202M-$205M and the consensus outlook of $204.4M, predicted DA Davidson analyst Jack Andrews. The company will report EPS of 5c, versus the consensus outlook of 4c, estimated Andrews. NetSuite can continue to increase its market share at the expense of mid-tier ERP vendors, believes the analyst, who reiterated a $130 price target and Buy rating on the shares. WHAT'S NOTABLE: In the same note to investors this morning, Merrill Lynch's Rangan also downgraded Paylocity (PCTY) and Marketo (MKTO) to Underperform from Neutral and it cut his rating on Red Hat (RHT) to Neutral from Buy. Paylocity provides payroll and human capital management software to medium businesses, while Marketo provides cloud-based marketing tools and Red Hat provides open source software solutions. PRICE ACTION: In early trading, NetSuite fell 3.6% to $65.45.
09:32 EDTMSFTActive equity options trading on open
Active equity options trading on open: FB PEP NFLX PM GM RMBS MSFT GLW AAPL
08:26 EDTMSFTTwitter in play after executive departures, says Cantor
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali believes yesterday's news of several senior executives leaving Twitter (TWTR) puts the company in play and could encourage potential bidders to step forward. Twitter's current valuation and sizeable user base makes it a strategic asset for a number of potential buyers, Squali told investors last night in a research note. Potential suitors on the technology side include Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT), the analyst contends. On the media side, Squali thinks 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS), Comcast (CMCSA) or Time Warner (TWX) could express interest in Twitter. No concentration of share ownership and no super-voting structure increase the odds of a buyout, Squali argues. The analyst, however, adds that the executive departures are not good news for a company in the midst of a turnaround. He maintains a Buy rating on the microblogging operator with a $45 price target. Twitter closed yesterday down 82c, or 5%, to $17.02..
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