RealTime IT News

'Mr. Softie' Gets the Job Done

Microsoft tried to steady a rocky stock market Thursday with better than expected results after the close.

Microsoft's earnings of 26 cents a share beat estimates by 3 cents, and sales rose 6% year-over-year to a record $12.5 billion, $400 million ahead of forecasts.

The software giant's current quarter guidance was merely in line with analysts' estimates, but with deferred revenues of $1.64 billion higher than expected, investors concluded that the company's guidance was conservative a week ahead of the launch of Vista and Office 2007.

"Results this quarter exceeded our expectations across the board, with revenue growth at or above our high end guidance for all divisions," CFO Chris Liddell said in a statement. "Healthy PC and server markets as well as broad-based business and consumer demand for Microsoft offerings fueled revenue growth this quarter."

Microsoft shares edged 2% higher in late trading.

Stocks plunged during the day on weak home sales and spiking interest rates, sending the major indexes to their worst one-day loss in two months.

eBay was a standout, gaining 8% on better than expected results.

Nokia was another earnings gainer, as were Symantec , Ariba , Avnet , Bottomline Technologies , Intersil , NetLogic and Trident Micro .

Agere , LSI , Rambus , Plexus and Acxiom fell on their results.

The Nasdaq lost 32 to 2434, the S&P 500 fell 16 to 1424, and the Dow tumbled 119 to 12,502. Volume rose to 3.04 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 2.28 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 25-7 on the NYSE, and 21-8 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 69% on the NYSE, and 73% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 258-27 on the NYSE, and 117-49 on the Nasdaq.