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Microsoft Shares Climb Postmarket as Cloud Results Look Strong

Investing.com - Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations on Wednesday and revenue that topped forecasts. Shares rose 2.8% in after-hours trading.

The company said its performance was led by strong results in its commercial cloud business, which reported revenue of $9.6 billion, up 41% from a year ago. The consensus was for revenue of about $9.3 billion.

The software giant said it earned $1.14 a share on revenue of $30.57 billion. Earnings were up 20% from a year ago while revenue rose 14%. Analysts polled by Investing.com had anticipated earnings of $1 a share on revenue of $29.89 billion.

Microsoft had earned $1.10 a share on revenue of $32.47 billion in the fiscal second quarter.

Microsoft shares were trading at $128.50 after hours. They had slipped 0.3% in regular trading, although they did hit a new high of $125.85 during the session.

The company said its Azure cloud computing business had revenue growth of 75%, though that was down slightly from a year ago.

In addition to strong growth in its cloud-related businesses, Microsoft saw decent performances in its Office Commercial, Office Consumer and LinkedIn) businesses. LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) revenue grew 27%.

It also said its Surface computing business had revenue growth of 21%, while gaming revenue was up just 5%. Search revenue from the MSN network grew 12%.

Perhaps a bright spot, sales of Windows software to computer manufacturers was up 9%. The company had expected only 5% growth.

The company finished the quarter with $131.6 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet, down slightly from a year ago. Unearned income (revenue that will be recognized in future quarters) fell to $24.3 billion from $28.9 billion. The company had expected a decline.

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