Volatile Big Tech earnings have whipsawed the stock market in recent weeks. Here are the winners and losers
Investors were crossing their fingers that the Big Tech earnings season would bolster floundering stocks this week, but those hopes were dashed as the tech-heavy Nasdaq experienced volatile trading.
The index whipsawed throughout the week amid a mixed bag of earnings reports from top tech names, rising roughly 2% on Monday to briefly top 13,000, before falling back 4% to lows of 12,464 on Wednesday.
Tech stocks then got a boost from a strong earnings report from Meta Platforms in the middle of the week, leading the Nasdaq to mount a brief recovery to over 12,900. But a big earnings miss from Amazon after market hours on Thursday reversed the index’s fortune.
Here are the Big Tech winners and losers from this week’s wild earnings season ride.
Microsoft reported standout earnings on Tuesday, topping analyst expectations as management dished out strong revenue guidance for investors.
The all-important cloud business raked in $19.05 billion in revenue in the first quarter, a 26% year-over-year jump, while the “more personal computing segment,” which includes key products like Windows and Xbox, saw its revenues climb 11% from a year ago to $14.52 billion.
Revenue: $49.36 billion, an 18% year-over-year increase
Net Income: $20.5 billion, a 48% year-over-year increase
Earnings Per Share: $2.22 compared to analysts’ estimate for $2.19
“Digital technology is a deflationary force in an inflationary economy. Businesses—small and large—can improve productivity and the affordability of their products and services by building tech intensity,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft. “The Microsoft Cloud delivers the end-to-end platforms and tools organizations need to navigate this time of transition and change.”
1. “There are some moments in the financial markets that are pivotal and historical when put in context. Last night was one of them when, in a white knuckle market with the whole Street (regardless of what sector you cover, value/growth, where you live in the world) watching Microsoft’s earnings with a close eye, Nadella & Co. gave a robust cloud guidance ‘for the ages’ that will calm Street nerves,” Wedbush’s Dan Ives said in an April 27 note.
Wedbush holds an “outperform” rating and a $340 price target on shares of Microsoft.
2. “Bearish investor concerns that the best days of the cloud software industry are in the rearview mirror were proven wrong based on robust cloud results out of both Microsoft and Google Cloud,” Piper Sandler analyst Brent Bracelin wrote in a Wednesday note.
Piper Sandler holds an “overweight” rating and a $352 price target on shares of Microsoft.
Apple turned in a relatively strong earnings performance on April 28, but CEO Tim Cook said the company was “not immune” to supply-chain challenges brought about by strict COVID-19 lockdowns in China.
The Cupertino-based company didn’t provide guidance in its quarterly report, and hasn’t forecasted revenues since the start of the pandemic owing to “uncertainty.” It did however confirm it will buy back $90 billion of shares, and raised its dividend by 4%. Quarterly phone sales revenue rose 5.5% from a year ago to top $50 billion, and ahead of the average analyst estimate for $47.9 billion.
Revenue: $97.28 billion, an 8.59% year-over-year increase
Net Income: $25.01 billion, a 5.84% year-over-year increase
Earnings Per Share: $1.52 compared to analyst estimates for $1.43
“We are very pleased with our record business results for the March quarter, as we set an all-time revenue record for services and March quarter revenue records for iPhone, Mac, and wearables, home and accessories. Continued strong customer demand for our products helped us achieve an all-time high for our installed base of active devices,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO, said.
1. “Apple delivered a very impressive March quarter that not only surprised, but provided a sigh of relief for the Street and the overall tech sector as Apple beat consensus across all metrics,” Dan Ives, Wedbush’s tech analyst, said in a Friday note. “The albatross for the June quarter, not surprisingly, was the COVID lockdowns in China, which will negatively impact revenue by between $4 billion and $8 billion as a headwind.”
Wedbush holds an “outperform” rating and a $200 price target on shares of Apple.
2. “We remain bullish given (1) Phone demand remains strong globally (ex-lockdown impact in China), (2) Mix remains positive in iPhone, (3) Channel inventory levels remain at lower end of range across products, (4) Services headwinds persist another quarter but compares get easier post that, (5) Gross margins are strong and structurally headed higher (faster services growth vs. production if mix remains similar), (6) Commitment to capital return/increased dividend, and (8) Potential M&A to drive innovation and growth,” Bank of America analysts, led by Wamsi Mohan, said in a Friday note.
Bank of America holds a “buy” rating and a $215 price target on shares of Apple.
Meta stock rose sharply after earnings despite missing analysts’ revenue estimates, after the company’s flagship social media platform, Facebook, proved it is once again adding users. Facebook increased its daily active user count to 1.96 billion after losing 1 million users last quarter.
Meta missed analysts’ earnings estimates but turned in better than expected earnings per share. The company also continued to build out its metaverse business, Reality Labs, in the first quarter, but the unit has yet to meaningfully contribute to revenues, losing $2.96 billion through March.
Revenue: $27.9 billion, a 7% year-over-year increase
Net Income: $7.47 billion, a 21% year-over-year decrease
Earnings Per Share: $2.74 compared to analyst estimates for $2.54
“We made progress this quarter across a number of key company priorities, and we remain confident in the long-term opportunities and growth that our product road map will unlock,” Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO, said. “More people use our services today than ever before, and I’m proud of how our products are serving people around the world.”
1. “We think the 2H bull case looks cleaner from here, as we are likely through the key downward revision cycle and can increasingly focus on the positive 2H,” UBS analysts, led by Lloyd Walmsley, said on Thursday. “Facebook’s call was positive from the start. The CEO explained how a strong ’21 led them to over-extrapolate, overinvest, and now course correct, demonstrating a commitment to profit growth. [This] co-validated our hypothesis that adding more A.I.-driven content decisions should improve discovery and, we believe, drive increased engagement.”
UBS holds a “buy” rating and a $310 price target on shares of Meta.
2. “Facebook outlined strong traction of Reels on IG and Facebook, with Reels growing to 20% of time spent on Instagram, Bank of America analysts, led by Justin Post, said on Thursday. “We see potential for accelerating growth and improving sentiment in 2H on easier comps.”
Bank of America holds a “buy” rating and a $262 price target on shares of Meta.
Alphabet reported less than stellar earnings on Tuesday amid a slowdown in revenue growth. The company had reported 34% growth last quarter, but a slowdown in YouTube ad revenue—$6.86 billion, compared with analyst expectations for $7.4 billion, contributed to a poor performance in the first three months of this year.
Google’s cloud business did show impressive growth in the quarter, however. Revenues rose 44% year over year to top analyst estimates, but the division still reported an operating loss of $931 million.
Revenue: $68.01 billion, a 22.9% year-over-year increase
Net Income: $16.43 billion, an 8.3% year-over-year decrease
Earnings Per Share: $24.62 compared to analyst estimates for $25.91
“Q1 saw strong growth in search and cloud, in particular, which are both helping people and businesses as the digital transformation continues. We’ll keep investing in great products and services, and creating opportunities for partners and local communities around the world,” Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s CEO, said.
1. “GOOGL’s ~$39.6 billion of paid search revenue was ~3% lower than expected, even as retail and travel drove the business,” Morgan Stanley Research analyst Brian Nowak said on Wednesday. “We also note that ~$12.6 billion of Google ‘other’ revenue was ~10% lower than expected due to changes in GOOGL’s Play pricing model (a pivot toward fees of 15% or less).”
Morgan Stanley holds an “overweight” rating and a $3,270 price target on Alphabet stock.
2. “In ‘the dark days of tech,’ not even Google is immune to the countless sector headwinds,” Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik said in a note Wednesday. “The cracks started a few quarters back, but investors were happy to gloss over them given continued search strength.”
Bernstein holds an “outperform” rating and a $3,500 price target on Alphabet shares.
On Thursday Amazon reported its first net loss since 2015, causing shares to take a dive. The company’s flagship e-commerce business has seen stagnating growth for six months. And this week, it reported its slowest sales growth in almost two decades.
Rising costs due to inflation and an extensive logistics buildout have led the company’s North America operating expenses to jump by 58% in the past two years, easily outpacing sales growth.
Revenue: $116.4 billion, a 7% year-over-year increase
Net Income: Net loss of $3.8 billion compared to a net income of $8.1 billion a year ago
Earnings Per Share: Loss of $7.56 per diluted share, compared to gain of $15.79 per diluted share a year ago
“The pandemic and subsequent war in Ukraine have brought unusual growth and challenges,” Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO, said. “Today, as we’re no longer chasing physical or staffing capacity, our teams are squarely focused on improving productivity and cost efficiencies throughout our fulfillment network. We know how to do this and have done it before.”
1. “Amazon is facing especially difficult comps in 1H, and its profit outlook deteriorated as the Ukraine conflict brought lower volumes and new cost challenges. Bears may argue more input cost pressure and higher wages ahead, but we expect better labor utilization and higher 3P fees & product prices to help offset [losses],” Bank of America analysts, led by Justin Post, said in a Friday note.
Bank of America holds a “buy” rating and a $3,770 price target on shares of Amazon.
2. “While sales were short of expectations by a mere $6 million, the bigger headline was the company’s first quarterly loss since 2015, at a loss per share of $7.56, or nearly $16 shy of the Street’s earnings per share expectations,” William Blair analysts said in a note to clients on Thursday. “Under the hood, the company reported an $8 billion pretax loss related to its investment in Rivian Automotive.”
William Blair holds an “outperform” rating on shares of Amazon.