Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT) is a technology company that has been around since 1986 and was founded by Bill Gates. With a market cap of close to $300 billion, Microsoft is one of the largest companies in the world. The maker of the widely popular “Windows” operating system has run into difficulties due to competition, but its expansion into smartphones, tablets, and the “Xbox” gaming and entertainment system is driving renewed interest in Microsoft.
No doubt, trading volume for a lot of stocks has been on the decline, and while this is traditionally a sign of a market that’s topping out, this potential outcome would be well-deserved and no surprise.
It’s the lull between earnings seasons and the beginning of summer trading action. Volume is going to be lighter, and stocks are due for a correction—even a big one. So I don’t think this market is running out of gas; it’s just tired and investors are looking for catalysts.
Following earnings forecasts, old-school technology stocks like Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) and Oracle Corporation (ORCL) are seeing their estimates going up for 2015. And Wall Street’s even nudging estimates for the financials higher.
Even if stocks are tired and volume is declining, rising estimates for next year is a positive trend.
As most blue chip corporations did OK in the first quarter of 2014 (see “1Q Earnings Not Giving the Market the Boost It Needs”), one commonality among many multinational companies was improving business conditions in Europe. It will be very interesting to see if this trend holds during second-quarter reporting. If it does, it increases the likelihood that multinational businesses will see their 2015 earnings estimates nudged higher yet.
Street estimates for Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), which is a very international business, have been going up across the board for this year and next. While the market expects total sales to be basically flat in 2014 (compared to 2013), current consensus is for around six-percent sales growth in 2015.
And there’s a similar scenario with other Dow Jones stocks like Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) … Read More
The business climate appears to be changing at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT), as the company attempts to evolve from its roots as a maker of operating systems for personal computers (PCs) to a more dynamic business focused on the surging mobile sector.
It has been a long time coming for this former Wall Street star. Out with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his lack of vision and execution in acknowledging the significance of the mobile sector. The new leader at the helm, Satya Nadella, appears to be steering Microsoft out of troubled waters and into the new realm of mobile.
The stock is at a new 52-week high and looking higher on the charts—finally rewarding shareholders and institutional investors after years of miscalculations.
Instead of focusing on the “Windows” operating system and PCs, Microsoft has shifted its focus to smartphones, tablets, entertainment gaming consoles, and now, it’s creating applications that could be used on the Apple Inc. (NADSAQ/AAPL) “iPad.”
Microsoft announced it would be offering as a downloadable app from the Apple App Store its widely used “Office” suite, which includes the popular “Word,” “Excel,” and “PowerPoint” applications. This strategy is a sharp contrast to the past years, when Microsoft was battling Apple to sell smartphones and tablets. Now having recognized the fact that Apple is tops, Microsoft is looking to build apps for the iPads and harness the hundreds of millions of users.
A smart move by Nadella and based on the share price, the stock market is pleased with the new direction.
Of course, Apple also benefits, as the company will receive 30% of the fees paid for … Read More
Earnings estimates for Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) are going up and the stock, which recently accelerated, finally looks like it has broken out of a 13-year consolidation.
Microsoft has been an income play for quite a while. Currently yielding three percent, the company’s forward price-to-earnings ratio is around 12.5 and is not dissimilar from many other blue chips.
Then there’s Intel Corporation (INTC). This company has been struggling for capital gains, but it’s yielding 3.6% and isn’t expensively priced.
What these technology companies illustrate so well is the business cycle, both in terms of operational growth and also as equity securities. Getting the cycle correct (the right place/stock at the right time) is the toughest thing for any investor or businessperson.
Regarding stocks, both Microsoft and Intel’s long-term charts clearly show how extremely overpriced their share prices were during the bull market of the 90s. Intel’s long-term stock chart is featured below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
The benefit of the very long term is that it provides a normalized but still decent rate of return with these kinds of stocks. No enterprise or investor can escape the business cycle, whether it is industry-specific, a local reality, or the general economy.
Railroad stocks have been super hot over the last several years, but for long periods of time, they were not. The solid dividend-payers that they are, you’d be hard-pressed to find Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) competing with Apple Inc. (AAPL) or Google Inc. (GOOG) for headlines.
I feel that stocks have broken out of their previous consolidation phase in favor of a new long-term cycle. But while last year’s stunning … Read More
As I have recently discussed in this column, I am positive on the technology sector, yet there is also some obvious froth in these stocks, namely in the social media space.
My freshman son in high school is currently producing a sports blog that I admit is pretty good. In less than a week since going live, his blog has more than 40 unique visitors and well over 200 page hits. He is asking how he can make money from blogging. I say it’s all about the eyeballs and traffic to your site and how active the users are.
If you simply look at the social media space, you’d realize the massive money being thrown around in driving the valuation of companies in this space. Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB) comes to mind, which I recently named as one of my top plays in the Internet sector. When you have more than a billion subscribers, the upside is enormous if the company can monetize its traffic.
In the case of my son, he has a long way to go, but for companies like Facebook or Twitter, Inc. (NYSE/TWTR), they have the eyeballs, so now it’s all about converting them to money. (Read “Two More Internet Stocks to Watch.”)
If you doubt the euphoria in the social media sector, think about Facebook deciding to put down a whopping $19.0 billion to acquire mobile messaging company WhatsApp. The four-year-old company is growing exponentially, with more than 450 million users taking advantage of its cross-platform mobile messaging service each month. The deal makes sense for Facebook, as it adds an additional mobile service … Read More
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