Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is scheduled to release its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results after the markets close on Thursday. The consensus estimates call for $1.08 in earnings per share (EPS) and $29.21 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, the company posted EPS of $1.06 and $24.7 billion in revenue.
It was recently announced that Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has inked a five-year deal with Microsoft that provides the world’s largest retailer with cloud solutions and services. In fact, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called the two companies’ battle with Amazon “absolutely core” to the just-signed deal. In an interview reported by The Wall Street Journal, Nadella elaborated: “How do we get more leverage as two organizations that have depth and breadth and investment to be able to outrun our respective competition?”
Walmart already uses Microsoft technology, and the new deal extends Walmart’s ties to include Microsoft Azure and 365 products. The retailer sees Azure as a continuation of its use of cloud computing and expects to move “hundreds of existing applications to cloud-native architectures.”
By scaling up its cloud integration, Walmart says it will build a global Internet of Things platform on Azure to reduce energy use in thousands of U.S. stores. The expansion also will enable Walmart to apply machine learning to routing trucks in its supply chain.
Over the past 52 weeks, Microsoft has outperformed the broad markets, with its stock up about 43%. In just 2018 alone, the stock is up only 23%.
A few analysts weighed in on Microsoft ahead of earnings:
- KeyCorp has a Buy rating with a $110 price target.
- Raymond James has a Strong Buy rating with a $124 target.
- Bank of America has a Buy rating with a $130 price target.
- Piper Jaffray has an Overweight rating and a $123 price target.
- Goldman Sachs has a Buy rating with a $114 price target.
- Barclays has a Buy rating with a $108 price target.
Shares of Microsoft were last seen at $104.73, with a consensus analyst price target of $113.47 and a 52-week trading range of $71.28 to $106.50.
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