Microsoft stock up on strong cloud guidance

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CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella gives a lecture about dream, struggle and creation at Tsinghua University on September 25, 2014 in Beijing, China. Nadella visited China for the first time on Thursday.

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Microsoft shares were up more than 5% Wednesday, a day after the company provided strong guidance for the next quarter in its latest earnings report.

The company beat analyst estimates on earnings and revenue, reporting adjusted earnings per share of $2.48 and $51.73 billion in revenue for the fiscal second quarter.

Microsoft has seen continued strong growth in its cloud services business, reporting 46% revenue growth for the segment. That comes after four quarters at or above 50% revenue growth in the sector.

While the deceleration may have initially concerned investors, with shares falling right after the report, the stock turned positive in after-hours trading Tuesday after executives provided guidance. Finance chief Amy Hood said Microsoft expects Azure will see sequential growth acceleration in constant currency in the current quarter.

“MSFT posted another strong quarter, and while the sequential deceleration in Azure growth created initial noise in the print, these concerns were quickly allayed with management’s guide of a Q/Q acceleration in Azure CC growth,” Stifel analysts wrote in a note on Wednesday.

The tech sector has recently experienced a broad sell-off amid concerns about rising interest rates. As of Wednesday morning, Microsoft and other Big Tech peers like Apple and Amazon had the most positive point impact on the Nasdaq 100.

“After the 14% YTD sell-off that appears overdone, we recommend growth investors buy MSFT on favorable risk-reward,” Piper Sandler analysts wrote.

— CNBC’s Jordan Novet contributed to this report.

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