Microsoft Earnings Are Coming. Why an Analyst Expects a ‘Masterpiece Quarter.’

Microsoft Earnings Are Coming. Why an Analyst Expects a ‘Masterpiece Quarter.’

Microsoft Earnings Are Coming. Why an Analyst Expects a ‘Masterpiece Quarter.’


Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Wall Street has high expectations for




Microsoft

‘s coming earnings report, with two analysts raising their price targets on the stock Wednesday.

Year to date, the stock is up about 39%. Microsoft’s fiscal first-quarter earnings report is due after the close on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

Wall Street consensus calls for Microsoft (ticker: MSFT) to post September quarter revenue of $44 billion, up 18%, with earnings of $2.07 a share. On the June quarter earnings conference call, the company provided revenue forecasts for each of its three segments. At the top of those ranges, total company revenue would be $44.2 billion.

On Wednesday, a pair of analysts lifted price targets on Microsoft shares in anticipation of strong results next week.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives reiterated his Outperform rating, while upping his target price on the stock to $375 from $350. The stock was down 0.3% in recent trading to $307.18.

“Our September quarter checks for Microsoft have shown incremental strength again as the Azure cloud growth story is hitting its next gear of growth,” Ives writes in a research note. He expects the company to deliver “another Picasso-like masterpiece quarter with numbers that should handily exceed Street estimates.”

Ives says some on the Street are too bearish about the outlook for Azure coming out of the pandemic and the work-from-home trend. He contends that “deal flow looks incrementally strong,” and calls the stock his “favorite large cap cloud play.”

Jefferies analyst Brent Thill likewise repeats his Buy rating, boosting his target to $375 from $345. But the tone of his note is more muted: He says the current quarter faces the easiest comparison of the new fiscal year, but he also sees challenges ahead.

“Comps get progressively tougher through fiscal 2022,” he says, though adds that the company can meet them with a “durable growth portfolio,” including the Azure public cloud business, security software, and the Teams collaborative communications suite. While staying bullish, Thill cautions that it will be hard for the company to sustain its current pace of growth as it approaches a revenue base of $200 billion or more.

Cowen analyst J. Derrick Wood, keeps his Outperform rating and $320 target on the stock, while noting that industry data points suggest “meaningful growth acceleration” in the quarter for the cloud infrastructure business. He says Azure should grow at least 45% year over year on a constant currency basis, the highest growth in over a year. Combine that with a price increase for Office 365, he writes, and the shares are “poised for stronger performance.”

Write to Eric J. Savitz at eric.savitz@barrons.com