How painful is it to own shares of Microsoft (MSFT -0.37%) stock right now? Plenty. Just when shares of Mr. Softy were rallying on news that the company was making a smart and well-times appeal to small-business owners who have yet to upgrade to Windows 8, IDC reports that the PC business is coming apart at the seams. Shares of Dell (DELL.DL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ -3.04%), and Intel (INTC -0.80%) also fell sharply following the report.
The timing stinks for Microsoft, which is due to report earnings on Thursday. It's a sure bet investors will be looking for an update on not only on WIndows 8 licenses sold (60 million, according to Mr. Softy's last estimate) but also on Windows 8 PCs in use today. IDC's data isn't encouraging.
For its part, Wall Street is expecting Q1 revenue to grow 18.8% to $20.68 billion, resulting in $0.76 of profit per share. The company beat earnings estimates in three of the past four quarters, only to suffer a 5.4% miss in the September quarter, according to data supplied by Yahoo! Finance. Microsoft stock is down nearly 7% over that period.
Would a beat help Microsoft stock kick off a sustained rally? Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova weighs in on this question in the following video. Please watch and then leave a comment to let us know whether you would buy, sell, or short Microsoft stock at current prices.