Microsoft Earnings Fell Last Quarter Amid Economic Concerns
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Microsoft Corp. recorded its slowest sales growth in more than six years last quarter as demand for its software and cloud services cooled on concerns about the health of the global economy. The Redmond, Wash., company’s revenue expanded 2% in the three months through Dec. 31 from a year earlier to $52.7 billion. Its net income fell 12% to $16.4 billion. That is the company’s lowest revenue growth since the quarter that ended in June 2016. “Organizations are exercising caution given the macroeconomic uncertainty,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said on an earnings call. The software company is the first of the tech titans to announce earnings for the quarter. It and others have recently announced layoffs of thousands of people to reflect a sudden lowering of expectations about future demand. Last week Microsoft announced plans to eliminate 10,000 jobs in response to the global economic slowdown, the company’s largest layoffs in more than eight years. Microsoft said it expects around $51 billion in revenue this quarter, a 3% increase from the same quarter last year. Its shares, which had initially risen on the results in after-hours trading, gave up their gains after the company announced its guidance.
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After an extremely choppy session, the Switzerland stock market ended flat on Tuesday with investors looking for direction and largely refraining from making significant moves. The benchmark SMI, which opened marginally up, advanced to 11,436.79, but swiftly drifted down into negative territory and stayed weak during much of the day's session before finally settling at 11,406.29, little changed from the previous close of 11,406.27. Logitech climbed nearly 3.5%. Zurich Insurance Group gained 2.64% and Swiss Life Holding gained 2.05%. Swiss Re surged 1.7%, while Geberit and Sonova ended higher by 1.37% and 1.3%, respectively. Credit Suisse ended 1.1% up, while Swisscom, UBS Group, Holcim and Richemont posted modest gains. Alcon ended 2.8% down, and Lonza Group drifted down 1.86%. Sika ended nearly 1% down. In the Mid Price Index, Swatch Group surged more than 5%. Belimo Holding gained nearly 2%, Flughafen Zurich ended 1.43% up, and Helvetia climbed about 1.15%. AMS, Zur Rose, Kuehne & Nagel, Schindler Holding, Adecco, Temenos Group and Swiss Prime Site closed weak.
European stocks closed on a mixed note on Tuesday with investors staying largely cautious, assessing the outlook for economic and earnings growth. The pan European Stoxx 600 ended down 0.24%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 drifted down 0.35% and Germany's DAX edged down 0.07%, while France's CAC 40 climbed 0.26%. Switzerland's SMI ended flat. Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland and Spain closed higher. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and Turkiye ended weak. The eurozone economy expanded in January for the first time in seven months, the results of a purchasing managers survey showed today, helping ease fears of an impending recession. The S&P Global Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index, which gauges activity in the manufacturing and services sectors, increased to 50.2 from 49.3 in December, the highest level since June. Separate data showed U.K. budget deficit widened to the highest December level on record largely due to a sharp growth in spending on energy support schemes and huge interest payments driven by high inflation. Public sector borrowing increased by GBP 16.7 billion from the last year to GBP 27.4 billion in December, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics. In the UK market, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Scottish Mortgage, IAG, Entain, WPP, Taylor Wimpey and Flutter Entertainment gained 2 to 3%. Astrazeneca drifted down nearly 3%. Tesco, Glencore, Associated British Foods, GSK, Reckitt Benckiser and BP lost 1.1 to 2.5%. In Paris, Publicis Groupe gained about 3% after announcing the appointment of Demet Ikiler as its chief operating officer for EMEA. Engie ended 2.8% up, while Veolia, Societe Generale, Vinci, WorldLine, Airbus Group, Thales, Bouygues, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole ended higher by 1 to 2%. Essilor ended nearly 2% down. L'Oreal, TotalEnergies, Carrefour, Pernod Ricard and Sanofi lost 0.6 to 1%.
U.S. stock indexes finished mixed Tuesday, as a series of major companies reported earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 104.40 points, or 0.3%, to 33733.96, after sliding earlier in the morning. The S&P 500 fell 2.86 points, or 0.1%, to 4016.95, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 30.14 points, or 0.3%, to 11334.27. The S&P 500 had gained a decisive 1.2% the day before, to close at its highest since early December. Stocks had also rallied Friday as investors bet that easing inflation would allow the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of its interest-rate rises and potentially even cut rates later this year. Officials at the central bank are considering a smaller rate increase for the meeting next week, The Wall Street Journal reported. Earnings season is in full swing, with blue-chip companies such as General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Danaher, and 3M all reporting ahead of the opening bell. GE stock rose $0.93, or 1.2%, to $80.70. The industrial conglomerate reported revenue and profit that topped Wall Street forecasts, driven by strong demand for jet engines and power equipment. Meanwhile, 3M dropped $7.62, or 6.2%, to $115.00 after the maker of Scotch tape and Post-it Notes reported a slowdown in sales and said it would eliminate 2,500 jobs.
The Tokyo stock exchange continued to rise on Wednesday. The Nikkei index rose by a further 0.5 per cent to 27,429 points, after even more significant gains were recorded on the two previous days. Back from the two-day Lunar New Year holiday break, South Korea's Seoul is up 1.3 per cent on pent-up demand built there in the face of gains on Wall Street. In Singapore, too, traders are back from two holidays, with the index up 1.8 per cent there.
In U.S. bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note declined to 3.467% from 3.522% the day before. Yields fall as bond prices rise.
UBS lowers Zurich Airport target to CHF 185 (190) – Buy
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