April 15, 2010

Intel earnings drive up Microsoft stock

Microsoft stock has jumped more than 1 percent in the wake of Intel's surprise quarterly earnings report Tuesday, which showed computer sales are recovering from the recession more quickly than expected.

From The Associated Press report on Intel:

Intel became the first major technology company to report earnings for the first quarter when it said after the market closed Tuesday that it earned $2.4 billion, or 43 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting profit of 38 cents per share.

In the same period last year, Intel earned $629 million, or 11 cents per share. At the time Intel was muddling through the recession, but (CEO Paul) Otellini predicted that personal computer sales had "bottomed out" – an early forecast that proved true.

Intel's revenue in the latest period jumped 44 percent to $10.3 billion, ahead of analysts' forecast for $9.8 billion.

After the chip maker's Tuesday-evening earnings announcement, Microsoft stock – which closed Tuesday at $30.45 – opened Wednesday morning at $30.75 before hitting a $31.00 at 6:55 a.m. Pacific time. By 10:15 a.m., MSFT had leveled to a bit over $30.80.

Intel's earnings could be an early sign that the technology industry is perhaps out of the woods. According to the AP, Otellini said there's one caveat: Many customers are buying cheaper computers with older Intel chips. But with an enterprise refresh cycle still on its way – sometime – things are looking up for the computer industry.

"I'm still not going to go out on a limb, and our customers aren't going to go out on a limb, and say there's a corporate refresh snapback cycle," Otellini told the AP. "People are buying things to replace older machines because it's just cheaper."

Microsoft is scheduled to announce its fiscal third-quarter earnings April 22.

No comments: