Microsoft (MSFT) Slips 0.78% Ahead of Earnings: What To Watch

Microsoft (MSFT ) saw its stock price dip 0.78% to hit $105.12 per share Wednesday, just one day before the tech power is set to report its Q4 fiscal 2018 financial results. So let’s take a look at what investors should expect from Microsoft after the closing bell Thursday.

Microsoft has jumped into new areas in order to adapt and grow, with a big push into artificial intelligence and IoT. The firm also competes against Amazon (AMZN ) , Oracle (ORCL ) , and Google (GOOGL ) in the cloud computing industry. Microsoft’s continued success in some of its more traditional businesses, coupled with its new-age ventures has helped its stock price climb roughly 98% over the last two years and 42% during the last 12 months.

Looking to MSFT’s Q4, our latest Zacks Consensus Estimates are calling for Microsoft’s revenues to climb by 18.24% to reach $29.21 billion. Meanwhile, the firm’s adjusted Q4 ESP figure is expected to hit $1.07 per share, which would mark over a 9% climb.

Investors should also note that Microsoft’s quarterly earnings revisions activity has been mixed recently. The company has received one downward earnings estimate revisions for Q4 within the last 30 days, along with one full-year upward change within the last seven days, which has helped contribute to its Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

With all that said, we still need to gauge how likely the firm is to outperform estimates Thursday, and we can turn to our exclusive Earnings ESP figure to do so.

Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) compares the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter. The Most Accurate Estimate is a version of the Zacks Consensus whose definition is related to change.

This is done because, generally speaking, when an analyst posts an estimate right before an earnings release, it means that they have fresh information which could potentially be more accurate than what analysts thought about a company two or three months ago.

A positive Earnings ESP paired with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better ranking helps us feel confident about the potential for an earnings beat. In fact, our 10-year backtest has revealed that this methodology has accurately produced a positive surprise 70% of the time.

Microsoft’s Most Accurate Estimate—the representation of the most recent analyst sentiment—is calling for earnings of $1.08 per share, which is one cent better than our current consensus estimate. Furthermore, Microsoft currently sports an Earnings ESP of 0.37% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which means investors can reasonably expect that MSFT has a good chance to beat earnings estimates after the bell Thursday.

It is also worth noting that Microsoft has topped our bottom line estimates in 14 out of the last 15 quarters, including the trailing eight periods.

Make sure to check back here for our full analysis after Microsoft reports!

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