The S&P 500 saw a nice gain this week as earnings season ramped up. The market index rose nearly 3%, bringing its year-to-date return to an impressive 7%. But what stories stood out the most last week?
With earnings under way, investors have quite a bit to mull over. Two notable earnings reports during the week from tech were streaming-TV company Netflix's (NASDAQ:NFLX) fourth-quarter update and collaboration and productivity software company Atlassian's (NASDAQ:TEAM) fiscal second-quarter report. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) also made headlines last week, when tech news and reviews website Thurrott noticed Microsoft is planning to halt support for Windows phones.
Here's a look at each of these stories.
For its fourth quarter, Netflix added 8.8 million paid members sequentially, bringing total members to 139 million by the end of 2018. With paying members up 26% year over year and average subscription prices in its fourth quarter up 3% during this same timeframe, fourth-quarter revenue increased 27% year over year.
Though the results for the quarter were solid, some investors may have been hoping the company's outlook for negative-$3 billion in 2019 free cash flow to improve following the company's recent price increase announcement. But management continues to expect free cash flow of negative-$3 billion as it spends heavily on content.
The stock slid about 4% on Friday following the earnings release. But shares are still up 27% year to date.
For its second quarter of fiscal 2019, Atlassian kept up its strong momentum, reporting a 39% year-over-year revenue increase.
"The second quarter of fiscal 2019 capped off a fantastic 2018, as we eclipsed $1 billion in calendar year revenue for the first time," said Atlassian co-CEO Scott Farquhar. "The quarter also highlighted the growing demand for Atlassian products to drive digital transformation in businesses large and small."
Importantly, the company also saw improvements in profitability, with its quarterly free cash flow rising 81% year over year to $122.6 million.
The company added 6,551 net new customers during the quarter, with 1,396 of these customers coming in because of the company's acquisition of incident management platform Opsgenie.
Microsoft prepares to stop supporting Windows phones
Another interesting story from the week was a recently published support page from Microsoft detailing what the company is referring to "Windows 10 Mobile End of Support." Essentially, Microsoft is getting ready to totally kill its support for the Windows phone operating system.
Microsoft explained the plan on its website:
As of December 10, 2019, Windows 10 Mobile users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free. Third parties or paid support programs may provide ongoing support, but it is important to recognize that Microsoft support will not publicly provide updates or patches for Windows 10 Mobile.
The FAQ about the end of support for Windows 10 Mobile goes as far as to recommend customers to switch to an Android or iOS device.
This news highlights how difficult it is for companies to build smartphone operating systems that can effectively compete with Alphabet and Apple.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Apple, Atlassian, and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.