Why Microsoft and GoPro Shares Are Rising

Shares of Microsoft, GoPro, and Glu Mobile were outperforming the broader market.

Sam Mattera
Sam Mattera
Jul 15, 2014 at 11:31AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) shed more than 30 points as of 11 a.m. EDT. A few tech stocks, including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) were outperforming the broader market, while Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) traded flat.

Microsoft said to plan layoffs
Shares of Microsoft rose more than 0.5% on Tuesday following news that the company was about to eliminate thousands of jobs, reducing its workforce as it integrated Nokia's handset division. According to Bloomberg, it could prove to be Microsoft's largest round of layoffs ever, and may be announced this week. 

With its acquisition of Nokia's handset business, Microsoft has 130,000 employees -- a sizable number. Most of the cuts are said to come from the two areas where the companies overlap, but some reductions in engineering and marketing are possible, as new CEO Satya Nadella attempts to remake Microsoft for a "mobile-first, cloud-first" world.

For investors, the job cuts should not be terribly surprising. Microsoft will look to be more efficient in the wake of its Nokia acquisition, but the cuts shouldn't be taken as a sign that trouble is brewing. Still, the company's upcoming earnings report will be key, as Microsoft's management lays out its vision for the future. The Windows-maker will report earnings on July 22.

GoPro benefits from analyst initiation
GoPro has been a volatile stock since its IPO last month, and remained volatile on Tuesday, surging nearly 9%.

To some extent, the rally may have been a bounce back from Monday, as shares of the digital camera company tanked to start the week. That decline appeared to be predicated by a cautious article in Barron's, which warned that GoPro's "thrill-filled IPO adventure may end badly."

Analysts at JMP Securities disagree. They initiated coverage on GoPro shares with a market perform rating and $60 price target on Tuesday, arguing that GoPro is a durable brand, one that appeals to consumers with active life styles. At current levels, JMP's price target represents a possible premium of more than 50%.

That may be the case, but GoPro is, at current levels, aggressively valued, and its volatility has made it prone to severe swings on a regular basis. While GoPro is a unique company, one that's growing and (unlike some other recent tech IPOs) actually earning a profit, it should be reserved for speculative portfolios.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Intel unmoved ahead of earnings
Chip giant Intel was largely unchanged early on Tuesday, with shares down just slightly, mostly in line with the broader Dow Jones. Despite its relative calm, investors in the stock should keep a close eye on the company and brace for some volatility.

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Intel is set to announce its quarterly earnings today after the market closes. While it may shed some light on its push into wearable computing, and its continued effort at breaking into the tablet and smartphone processing market, Intel's results should primarily reflect the state of the traditional PC market -- in particular, the demand for Windows-powered PCs among businesses and consumers. Intel's report, then, could have an effect on several related names, including Microsoft.

Demand appears to be good -- Intel raised its revenue guidance last month on better-than-expected demand -- but investors should look to Intel's future guidance. While the current PC upgrade cycle appears to be in full swing, it could be short-lived.