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Stock Analyst Update

Microsoft Delivers Strong Quarter; Raising FVE to $278

Wide-moat 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.


Wide-moat 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 fourth quarter was nicely above FactSet consensus as well. Azure remains strong, while consumer-related revenue was ahead of our expectations as the global lockdowns continued this quarter. Importantly, commercial bookings and RPO, two forward-looking metrics, both continue to significantly 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 drive our fair value estimate to $278 from $263 per share. We see modest upside to this high-quality name from here.

For the March quarter, revenue growth accelerated to 19.1% year over year to $41.71 billion, compared with our model at $41.09 billion and FactSet consensus at $40.97 billion. Relative to our expectations, all segments were ahead, with most upside driven by stronger gaming-related revenue within the more personal computing segment. 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 stable sequentially at 50% year over year. We find this particularly impressive given that on-premise server products revenue still grew 3% year over year against a difficult comparison, underscoring hybrid cloud strength.

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

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