Microsoft cannot escape headwinds from technology earnings pressures Microsoft cannot escape headwinds from technology earnings pressures Microsoft cannot escape headwinds from technology earnings pressures

Microsoft cannot escape headwinds from technology earnings pressures

Equities 7 minutes to read
Peter Garnry

Head of Saxo Strats

Summary:  US technology stocks rose 2.8% on Friday catapulting the sector to its highest close since mid-December. Sentiment was bolstered by an optimistic outlook from Netflix and more technology layoffs with Alphabet announcing cutting 12,000 jobs. Investors see aggressive cost-cutting as key to restore profitability in the sector with earnings down 17% from the peak in Q4 2021. We also take a look at Microsoft FY23 Q2 earnings scheduled tomorrow after the market close with expectations of a drop in revenue growth.


Widespread layoffs in technology sector is needed

Last year was brutal for the US technology sector with Nasdaq 100 futures declining 32% ending a decade of also uninterrupted gains in earnings and market value. The message from investors was clear: “cut costs fast”. Technology companies listened with combined layoffs reaching around 200,000 across a wide range of technology companies. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, was the latest announcing 12,000 jobs cut on Friday and today Spotify followed the rest of the industry cutting 6% of its workforce.

Layoffs are necessary for the technology industry as revenue growth has slowed materially relative to the rest of the economy as economic activity has shifted to the commodity sector. Nasdaq 100 earnings are down 17% from the peak in Q4 2021 and wage pressures continuing while customers are holding back on technology spending the industry is forced to cut costs to preserve margins and equity valuations.

The technology sector also rose to the news this morning that the activist investor Elliott Management had made a significant investment in Salesforce and while the objectives are unclear at this point profitability must be the key focus. Salesforce hired too many people during the pandemic and recently laid off 10% of its workforce as customers are holding back on spending on enterprise software. Salesforce had an EBITDA margin of 17% in the last 12 months compared to its competitor Microsoft at 49.8%.

Nasdaq 100 futures | Source: Saxo

Microsoft sees margin pressure

The world’s largest software maker reports FY23 Q2 earnings (ending 31 December) tomorrow after the market close with analysts expecting revenue growth slowing to 2.3% y/y down from 20.1% y/y one year ago and down from 10.6% y/y revenue growth in the previous quarter. While the strong USD is obviously impacting foreign income the macroeconomic headwinds are also impacting customer activity. We expect the macro headwinds to impact the Windows and cloud businesses driven by lower PC sales and a slowdown in enterprise software spending. In addition to slowing revenue growth increased energy costs to its data centers and wage pressures will continue to put Microsoft’s operating margin under pressure. EBITDA margin is expected to decline to 45.6% in FY23 Q2 down from 49.8% in the previous quarter and 50.7% a year ago. Analysts expect EPS of $2.30 down 6% y/y. Microsoft’s share price is down 29% from its peak and the equity valuation has fallen to a 3.6% free cash flow yield which is slightly above the US 10-year yield with the difference being that these free cash flows are not fixed unlike those coupons on government bonds.

Microsoft share price | Source: Saxo

The most important earnings releases this week are shown below:

  • Today: Baker Hughes
  • Tuesday: Nidec, Microsoft, J&J, Danaher, Verizon, Texas Instruments, Raytheon Technologies, Union Pacific, Lockheed Martin, Intuitive Surgical, GE, 3M, Halliburton, DR Horton
  • Wednesday: ASML, Lonza Group, Tesla, Abbott Laboratories, NextEra Energy, IBM, Boeing, ServiceNow, CSX, Freeport-McMoRan, Lam Research, Norfolk Southern
  • Thursday: Tryg, Novozymes, Kone, Nokia, LVMH, Christian Dior, STMicroelectronics, SAP, Diageo, Atlas Copco, Volvo, SEB, Visa, Mastercard, Comcast, Intel, Blackstone, Valero Energy, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Dow, Nucor, L3Harris Technologies, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines
  • Friday: Fanuc, Chevron, American Express, Colgate-Palmolive

Disclaimer

The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website. This content is not intended to and does not change or expand on the execution-only service. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (https://www.home.saxo/legal/niird/notification)
Full disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/legal/disclaimer/saxo-disclaimer)
Full disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/legal/saxoselect-disclaimer/disclaimer)

Saxo Bank (Schweiz) AG
The Circle 38
CH-8058
Zürich-Flughafen
Switzerland

Contact Saxo

Select region

Switzerland
Switzerland

All trading carries risk. Losses can exceed deposits on margin products. You should consider whether you understand how our products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a general Risk Warning series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. The KIDs can be accessed within the trading platform. Please note that the full prospectus can be obtained free of charge from Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. or the issuer.

This website can be accessed worldwide however the information on the website is related to Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. All clients will directly engage with Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and all client agreements will be entered into with Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and thus governed by Swiss Law. 

The content of this website represents marketing material and has not been notified or submitted to any supervisory authority.

If you contact Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. or visit this website, you acknowledge and agree that any data that you transmit to Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd., either through this website, by telephone or by any other means of communication (e.g. e-mail), may be collected or recorded and transferred to other Saxo Bank Group companies or third parties in Switzerland or abroad and may be stored or otherwise processed by them or Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. You release Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. from its obligations under Swiss banking and securities dealer secrecies and, to the extent permitted by law, data protection laws as well as other laws and obligations to protect privacy. Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. has implemented appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect data from unauthorized processing and disclosure and applies appropriate safeguards to guarantee adequate protection of such data.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.