Why Microsoft Earnings Are Causing Investors to Sell

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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) reported fiscal third-quarter 2017 results after markets closed Thursday. The software behemoth reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.73 on adjusted revenues of $23.6 billion. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $0.63 on revenues of $22.16 billion. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $0.70 on revenues of $23.62 billion.

During the quarter, Microsoft returned $4.6 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends.

Intelligent cloud revenue rose 11% (up 12% in constant currency) and Windows OEM revenue rose 5% both nominally and in constant currency. The company now claims 26.2 million subscribers to its Office 365 Consumer subscription base. Revenue growth in the company’s Azure platform nearly doubled year over year.

Microsoft did not offer guidance in its press release but said that it would provide guidance during its conference call later this afternoon.

The consensus estimate for the company’s third fiscal quarter EPS is $0.68 on revenues of $22.36 billion. For the full fiscal year ending in June 2016, EPS is forecast at $2.76 on revenues of $92.53 billion.

The company’s COO, Amy Hood, said:

Strong execution and demand for our cloud-based services drove our commercial cloud annualized revenue run rate to more than $15.2 billion.

The bad news, and what has taken the shares down in the after-hours session is a 26% drop in sales of the company’s Surface 2-in-1 tablet.

Today’s report is pushing the share price down about 1.4% at $67.35 in after-hours trading. The stock closed at $68.27 after posting a new 52-week high earlier in the day of $68.38. The 52-week low is $48.04. Prior to the announcement the 12-month consensus price target on the stock was $69.93.