RealTime IT News

Softie Beats The Street

Microsoft continued the run of better than expected earnings from technology bellwethers late Thursday, posting quarterly results that beat Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom line.

Microsoft's pro forma earnings of 49 cents a share were three cents better than anticipated, but the real surprise was on the top line: the software giant's sales soared 32% to $14.4 billion, $500 million more than analysts expected.

Microsoft's current quarter sales guidance of $13.1-$13.4 billion could potentially disappoint the $13.3 billion Thomson Financial consensus forecast, but the company's stock was up 3% in late trading.

"This quarter marked the consumer launches of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, and we are delighted with the positive customer response these products have received," COO Kevin Turner said in a statement. "We continue to deliver on our compelling product cycle and build upon strong field sales and marketing execution in order to drive revenue and profit growth for the company."

Also after the close, Baidu.com soared on its earnings report.

Stocks paused Thursday ahead of Microsoft's earnings and Friday's first-quarter GDP report.

Apple gained 3.7% on blowout earnings.

Covansys soared on news that it will be acquired by Computer Sciences .

Check Point , Bottomline , PMC-Sierra , Skyworks and Xilinx gained on their earnings reports, while Qualcomm was unchanged despite posting solid results.

Akamai , Comcast , Harmonic , Isilon , Level 3 and LSI fell on their results.

The Nasdaq climbed 6 to 2554, the S&P 500 slipped 1 to 1494, and the Dow added 15 to 13,105. Volume declined to 3.16 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.48 billion on the Nasdaq. Declining issues led by a 17-15 margin on the NYSE, and 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 46% on the NYSE, and 53% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 321-26 on the NYSE, and 192-67 on the Nasdaq.

Note: The Technical Analysis column will return tomorrow.