1 Number Microsoft Stock Investors Should Know Ahead of Earnings

How painful is it to own shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) stock right now? Plenty. Just when shares of Mr. Softy were rallying on news that the company was making a smart and well-times appeal to small-business owners who have yet to upgrade to Windows 8, IDC reports that the PC business is coming apart at the seams. Shares of Dell (NASDAQ: DELL  ) , Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) also fell sharply following the report.

The timing stinks for Microsoft, which is due to report earnings on Thursday. It's a sure bet investors will be looking for an update on not only on WIndows 8 licenses sold (60 million, according to Mr. Softy's last estimate) but also on Windows 8 PCs in use today. IDC's data isn't encouraging.

For its part, Wall Street is expecting Q1 revenue to grow 18.8% to $20.68 billion, resulting in $0.76 of profit per share. The company beat earnings estimates in three of the past four quarters, only to suffer a 5.4% miss in the September quarter, according to data supplied by Yahoo! Finance. Microsoft stock is down nearly 7% over that period.

Would a beat help Microsoft stock kick off a sustained rally? Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova weighs in on this question in the following video. Please watch and then leave a comment to let us know whether you would buy, sell, or short Microsoft stock at current prices.

For further analysis of Microsoft's global ambitions, try our newest premium research report in which we dissect Mr. Softy's sprawling empire and tell you what the company is really worth, and whether the stock deserves a place in your portfolio. Access your report now by clicking here.


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