Market volatility continued on Thursday, but in stark contrast to Wednesday's big plunge, the news was more positive. By 1:15 p.m. EST, the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.00%) was up 1.5%, and other major benchmarks saw similarly strong performance.
Once again, some high-profile stocks were subject to short squeezes, and many investors focused their entire attention on the wild swings that their share prices saw. Yet amid all the uproar, a couple of high-quality Nasdaq stocks managed to climb to all-time records. Far from being caused by market hype, both of these companies stand a good chance of holding onto their gains and even pushing further into record territory.
A strong quarter for Big Softy
Shares of Microsoft (MSFT -0.23%) were up more than 3% on Thursday afternoon. The move sent the software giant's market capitalization above $1.8 trillion, and despite an impressive advance over the past year, many investors in Microsoft see further upside ahead.
The good news for Microsoft started earlier this week, when the company announced its fiscal second-quarter financial results. The numbers were strong, with revenue climbing 17% year over year and net income soaring by 33% from year-ago levels. Microsoft saw consistently good performance across almost its entire corporate footprint, as sales jumped double-digit percentages in the productivity and business processes, intelligent cloud, and more personal computing segments. As we've seen repeatedly in recent quarters, cloud growth stood out, with total revenue climbing 23% on a 26% rise in server products and cloud services sales.
Most investors believe that Microsoft's future lies in maximizing its growth in cloud computing. Microsoft Azure has picked up some key wins lately, most notably when General Motors (GM -1.99%) agreed to have Microsoft become a partner in its Cruise electric vehicle venture in exchange for giving Azure a prominent status with Cruise and GM. Yet Azure doesn't get the same recognition as Amazon's Web Services division.
Microsoft has come a long way quickly, but its gains haven't been triggered by any short-term trading considerations. There are strong fundamentals underlying the stock, and that's why investors can feel confident about Microsoft's chances to keep producing solid long-term returns.
A longtime fund giant with a modern approach
Digging even further into the little-followed realm, fund manager T. Rowe Price (TROW 1.37%) hit all-time highs Thursday, climbing more than 5%. The company had strong fourth-quarter results that showed how popular its fund offerings still are even as investing has changed dramatically.
T. Rowe Price's results show how lucrative the business still is. Net revenue jumped 18% to $1.73 billion, with net income soaring 44% to $783 million. That capped a surprisingly good year for the fund manager, as assets under management ended up rising 22% to $1.47 trillion. Strong markets played a big role in that, but the company also saw $2.2 billion in net inflows during the fourth quarter to support its business.
To keep up with the pace of transformation in the investing industry, T. Rowe Price has also jumped into the active ETF realm. Funds have had solid inflows even as many competitors struggle to remain viable. With ARK Invest having taken a lot of the mindshare in the active ETF space, it's encouraging to see T. Rowe Price's funds still gaining traction.
T. Rowe Price was a pioneer in investing in the technology industry, and that's given it an edge over more conservative peers among fund managers. The stock has been a solid performer, paying significant and growing dividends and giving shareholders long-term gains. That's a recipe for sustained growth well into the future.