Microsoft Digests Nokia and Qualcomm Gets a 4G Boost

Ahead of a number of key earnings reports, the Dow Jones Industrial Adverage (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) was up 61.81 points, or a cool 0.36%, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) moved up 9.90 points, or 0.50%. In tech, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM  ) were prominent today. 

Microsoft does well but suffers some Nokia-induced indigestion
Following the market close, software giant Microsoft reported sales of $23.38 billion and earnings per share of $0.55, beating by $380 million on the former and missing by $0.05 on the latter. 

Microsoft's commercial revenue (57.66% of sales) hit $13.48 billion, up 11% year over year. Its devices and consumer revenue didn't fare too badly, either, popping 42% higher to $10 billion. Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers hit 5.6 million, up 1 million during the quarter, Bing search grew 40%,nabbing 19.2% of U.S. search share, and Windows OEM revenue was up 3%, driven by 11% growth in Windows OEM Pro revenue.

Microsoft remains a cash-generating machine -- raking in $27.7 billion in operating profit for the year and $22 billion in net income this year. Despite the struggles it has had in trying to sell smartphones and tablets profitably (its newly acquired Nokia division lopped off $0.08 per share in earnings for the quarter), its core businesses remain exceptionally strong.

The only potential weak spot is that Microsoft guided to revenue of $21.2 billion to $22.3 billion for the current quarter, missing analyst consensus of $23.09 billion.

Qualcomm gets a 4G upgrade
Cowen's Timothy Arcuri issued a note to investors claiming that shares of Qualcomm could move beyond their current trading range, reiterating his $86 price target. Arcuri's positive outlook appears based on the belief that Qualcomm's chip business is likely to be in line or better, and technology licensing (Qualcomm's main profit driver) is slated to come in near the high end of the company's guidance range. Additionally, Arcuri is optimistic that cost-cutting could help boost Qualcomm's chip division profitability. 

It should be worth noting that it's tough to disagree with Arcuri's sentiments; Qualcomm's applications processors have swept the high end of the smartphone market and are making strong inroads in the mid-range and low end. Further, Qualcomm is increasingly gaining connectivity combo chip share in the low end and mid-range (as it sells the entire platform), and it even has exposure to Apple as the cellular baseband provider for the iPhone and cellular variants of the iPad. 

We'll know more tomorrow after Qualcomm reports its earnings results. 

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