Wednesday, 1 November 2023

Microsoft (MSFT) thrives on cloud and AI prowess. Is the stock a buy?

by Rose White

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has entered the new fiscal year on a high note, riding on the strength of its rapidly growing cloud business and aggressive AI adoption. Like most others in the tech space, the company is investing heavily in AI to better align the business with changing trends and to take growth to the next level.

Microsoft (MSFT) thrives on cloud and AI prowess. Is the stock a buy?

Investing in MSFT 

Microsoft’s stock made steady gains so far this year and set a new record a few weeks ago. Though MSFT traded mostly sideways since then, it looks poised to make further gains this fiscal year. Analysts are bullish on the stock’s growth prospects and strongly recommend buying it. Despite the high valuation, there seems to be more room for growth, and the stock could be a good investment for the long term.

The tech firm is working to infuse artificial intelligence across all frontend and backend processes to boost customer experience. The integration of Copilot, the assistance feature launched early this year, enables customers to enjoy the benefits of AI while using Office 365 and other Microsoft applications. The strong growth of the cloud business shows that the AI initiatives have started paying off.

The company’s recent performance shows that the growth initiatives are having a positive effect across all segments. The Xbox gaming business grew consistently in recent quarters after recovering from a weak phase, thanks to an increase in first-party content and the growing popularity of Xbox Game Pass, a monthly video game subscription service.

Strong Q1

In the first three months of 2024, the company’s revenues increased to $56.5 billion from $50.1 billion in the prior year period. Analysts were looking for a lower number. Net profit came in at $22.3 billion or $2.99 per share in the September quarter, vs. $17.56 billion or $2.35 per share in the comparable period of the previous year. Earnings topped expectations, marking the fifth beat in a row. The cloud business continued to expand and contributed the most to the top line.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said at his post-earnings interaction with analysts, “We are off to a strong start to the fiscal year driven by the continued strength of Microsoft Cloud, which surpassed $31.8 billion in quarterly revenue, up 24%. With Copilots, we are making the age of AI real for people and businesses everywhere. We are rapidly infusing AI across every layer of the tech stack and for every role of the business process to drive productivity gains for our customers. Now I’ll highlight examples of our progress, starting with infrastructure.”

Shares of Microsoft closed the last trading session up 2.3% and maintained the uptrend early Tuesday. The stock is trading below its July peak and the 52-week average.

The post Microsoft (MSFT) thrives on cloud and AI prowess. Is the stock a buy? first appeared on AlphaStreet.