What happened

Shares of software giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) had jumped 4% as of 11:50 a.m. EDT Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected sales and earnings in its fiscal first-quarter 2022 report last night.

Instead of the $2.07 per share earned on sales of $44 billion that analysts were expecting, Microsoft reported a $2.27 per share adjusted profit on sales of $45.3 billion.  

Rising red stock arrow representing a stock going up drawn on a yellow background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

And that wasn't even the best news. When calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Microsoft's earnings actually came in at $2.71 per share for the fiscal first quarter, up 49% year over year -- way better than the 25% reported improvement in adjusted profits.  

The improvement in earnings was also significantly stronger than Microsoft's already strong 22% growth in Q1 2022 sales over Q1 2021. Across the board, Microsoft booked improvements in revenue:

  • Intelligent cloud sales -- up 31%.
  • Productivity and business processes -- up 22%.
  • More personal computing -- up 12%.

Now what

And Microsoft plans to keep outperforming expectations in the second quarter, as revealed in the company's post-earnings conference call, which was covered by TheFly.com.

There, Microsoft confided that it is on course to book revenue between $50.15 billion and $51.05 billion in Q2 -- several percentage points faster growth than the $48.9 billion that Wall Street had been forecasting. The results, and the forecast, were good enough to elicit higher stock price targets from a range of Wall Street banks, as analysts from Barclays to Citi to Goldman Sachs hiked their target prices as high as $407 a share on this $324 stock, predicting as much as 25% gains above and beyond what Microsoft is collecting today.

No wonder investors are excited.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.