What’s behind earnings news from Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT)? Do the tensions in Ukraine have an affect on the markets? And what are the repercussions of today’s vote by the Northwestern University football team on whether to unionize? In the corresponding video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task, Senior Columnist Mike Santoli, and Breakout host Jeff Macke spoke with Lauren Lyster about the earnings reports, the affect of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on markets – if any – and the Northwestern vote.
Amazon down, Microsoft's "incredibly strong CEO"
Amazon and Microsoft both reported earnings late Thursday. Amazon met estimates on earnings at $0.23 a share and beat on revenue bringing in $19.74 billion. Microsoft beat on both earnings and revenue, bringing in $0.68 a share on $20.4 billion in revenue. Despite reporting seemingly positive results, Amazon stock was sharply lower.
Macke, who disclosed he holds Amazon stock said, “This was exactly the quarter that we wanted from Amazon.” He said the company came in in-line with estimates, they controlled expenses and Prime customers aren’t fleeing, even though they raised rates. Macke said the stock was down because of a lack of vision and imagination on the part of some investors. “Today, at least, there are some skeptics on Wall Street.”
Task said that the mentality on The Street may have shifted away from high-valuation stocks, and he brought up the fact that Facebook’s (FB) stock was down after its earnings were released. “I think there’s a sense that the Facebooks and the Amazons of the world - that the valuation is priced into the stock and may be overpriced in the case of Amazon.”
Shifting to Microsoft, Task said, “[CEO] Satya Nadella has come out of the gates and is looking like an incredibly strong CEO.”
Santoli said Wall Street is celebrating Nadella’s tone and messaging, in particular the fact that he's focused on the future.
Is Ukraine affecting markets?
Russian troops conducted military exercises along the Ukrainian border this week. President Obama is expected to push European leaders to levy more sanctions today, and Standard & Poor’s cut Russia’s debt rating to just above “junk.” Are all these developments in Ukraine affecting markets? The panel didn’t seem to think so. “It seems to me it’s very localized and limited in terms of the impact,” Santoli said.
“I would agree,” Task said. “Unless the United States of America comes out with sanctions against Russian oil and gas, it doesn’t seem like the financial markets are really caring.”
College football union?
Finally, it will be a big day in college football, even though there aren’t any games. Northwestern University’s football team will vote on whether or not to unionize. The results of the vote by 76 scholarship players – which may not be known for months - could give them the ability to bargain for compensation beyond scholarships.
Santoli said the vote itself matters more than the results. “I don’t think this vote really matters,” he said. “I think the fact that the vote is happening really matters and it’s going to create this re-thinking of college sports.”
Task said that the vote is an important milestone just by getting people to talk about the huge profits for the NCAA, while the players don’t get any income. “We talk about income inequality,” he said. “That’s income inequality.”
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