Major stock market indexes declined on Friday as investors weighed a largely encouraging slate of earnings reports against higher oil prices following news of escalating tensions with Iran. After spending much of the session in the green, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) turned negative in the afternoon.
Today's stock market
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A-B InBev downsizes Down Under
Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev climbed 5.5% after the brewing behemoth announced it has agreed to divest its Australian subsidiary, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), to Asahi Group Holdings for an enterprise value of roughly $11.3 billion. For perspective, that's a reasonably solid premium of 14.9 times CUB's 2018 normalized EBITDA.
A-B InBev says the proceeds of the divestment will be used to pay down debt, which will in turn help "accelerate its expansion into other fast-growing markets in the APAC region and globally."
Speaking of which, A-B InBev said it continues to explore a potential initial public offering of a minority stake of its Asia-Pacific business (now excluding Australia), the initial plans for which it canceled earlier this month citing "several factors, including prevailing market conditions," as long as the offering "can be completed at the right valuation."
"We continue to see great potential for our business in APAC and the region remains a growth engine within our company," stated A-B InBev CEO Carlos Brito. "With our unparalleled portfolio of brands, strong commercial plans and talented people, we are uniquely positioned to capture opportunities for growth across the APAC region."
Microsoft's floating on cloud nine
Meanwhile, shares of Microsoft initially jumped as much as 3.1%, then settled to close up 0.2% after the software giant announced impressive fiscal Q4 2019 results. Quarterly revenue climbed 12% year over year to $33.72 billion, driven by an incredible 39% increase in commercial cloud revenue to $11 billion. That translated into adjusted net income of $10.62 billion, of $1.37 per share, up 21% from $1.13 per share in the year-ago period.
Analysts, on average, were only expecting earnings of $1.21 per share on revenue of $32.77 billion.
"Every day we work alongside our customers to help them build their own digital capability -- innovating with them, creating new businesses with them, and earning their trust," added CEO Satya Nadella. "This commitment to our customers' success is resulting in larger, multi-year commercial cloud agreements and growing momentum across every layer of our technology stack."