After Thursday’s closing bell, the world’s largest software maker — Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) — delighted investors with stellar fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 results on strong performance by its fast-growing cloud business. Earnings per share came in at 98 cents, easily outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents and higher than the year-ago earnings of 69 cents. Revenue rose 13% year over year to $24.7 billion, topping our estimate of $24.12 billion.
The outperformance was credited to the strength in the cloud business, particularly Azure, whose sales grew 97% from the year-ago period. Investors should note that Microsoft’s total cloud business brought in about $7.4 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter. This clearly shows that Satya Nadella’s efforts to turn around the business, and focus on cloud services and mobile applications are paying off and beneficial for the company’s future growth (read: Profit from Cloud Computing Boom with This ETF).
For the ongoing first quarter of fiscal 2018, Microsoft expects revenues in the range of $23.6-$24.3 billion. The midpoint of which is higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $24.1 billion.
Following the robust results, shares of Microsoft rose as much as 3% in after-market hours to new highs on elevated volumes. Currently, Microsoft carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a solid Zacks Industry rank in the top 36%, suggesting that it is poised to outperform in the days ahead (read: Tech ETFs on Fire as Q2 Earnings Season Heats Up).
ETFs in Focus
Investors’ seeking to bet on this software leader with lower risk could definitely look into the ETF world. While there are several tech ETF options available in the market, we have highlighted eight tech ETFs that have the largest exposure to Microsoft and have a Zacks ETF Rank of 1 or 2 (Buy), suggesting smooth trading ahead.