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Stock Analyst Update

Gaming and Azure Drive Microsoft Strong Results; FVE up

Microsoft is benefiting from a second wave of digital transformation as well as strength in gaming, which helped the company once again drive material upside compared with its revenue and EPS outlook for the quarter. Our fair value estimate moves to $263 from $235 per share.

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Microsoft (MSFT) is benefiting from a second wave of digital transformation as well as strength in gaming, which helped the company once again drive material upside compared with its revenue and EPS outlook for the quarter. Guidance for the third quarter was nicely above consensus as well. Azure remains strong, while consumer-related revenue was once again ahead of our expectations as the global lockdowns continued this quarter. Importantly, commercial bookings and RPO, two forward-looking metrics, both continue to outpace revenue growth. We remain impressed with Microsoft's ability to drive revenue and margins at this scale and we believe there is more to come on both fronts. Results continue to underscore our thesis, which centers on customer adoption of hybrid cloud environments with Azure. Microsoft continues to use its dominant position of on-premises architecture to allow customers to move to the cloud easily and at their own pace, which we believe will continue over the next five years. Quarterly strength along with upside to guidance and a variety of minor model tweaks drive our fair value estimate to $263 from $235 per share. We still see loosely 10% upside to this high-quality wide-moat name.

For the December quarter, revenue growth accelerated to 16.7% year over year to $43.08 billion, compared with our model at $40.29 billion and FactSet consensus at $40.14 billion. Relative to our expectations, all segments were ahead. However, Intelligent Cloud, which was driven by Azure, and More Personal Computing, which was driven primarily by the holiday-launch of the new Xbox consoles and the related gaming service revenue that was pulled through, were both more than $800 million ahead of our model. As a result of the COVID-19-driven lockdown, general consumer-related strength in both PC-related demand and gaming persist. Intelligent cloud remains a key long-term growth driver and saw Azure growth accelerate modestly sequentially (again) to 50% year over year.

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Dan Romanoff does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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