The U.S. stock market traded higher Thursday but the Dow was mostly excluded from the rally as shares of Microsoft Corp (MSFT) tumbled following a lukewarm earnings report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded lower after the open, mirroring a mostly flat pre-market session for Dow futures. The blue-chip index fell by as much as 172 during the morning session before paring losses and eventually flashing green. At last check, the Dow was up 9.64 points or 0.04%. DowDuPont (DWDP) plunged more than 8% after reporting disappointing revenues.
Shares of communications services skyrocketed after Facebook Inc. (FB) reported record quarterly profits. The S&P 500’s communications services index rose 3.7%. The large-cap S&P 500 Index was up 0.94% at 2,706.28.
The Nasdaq Composite Index, which has a high concentration of communications companies, jumped 1.54% to 7,293.68.
Shares of Microsoft came under pressure Thursday after the company reported weaker than expected revenue and earnings that were only marginally higher than forecast.
The Redmond, Washington-based company reported per-share earnings of $1.10 compared with $1.09 per share expected by analysts. Revenues increased 12% annually during the fourth quarter, but came in below estimates at $32.47 billion. Analysts had called for $32.51 billion.
As CNBC notes, Microsoft’s Azure cloud business grew 76%, which is flat sequentially from the third quarter. Azure has been a tremendous source of growth for the software giant in recent years and is currently second in market share behind Amazon Web Services.
The U.S. Commerce Department announced Thursday that new home sales rebounded to an eight-month high in November, easing concerns of a broad slowdown in the housing sector.
New home sales, which account for about a tenth of the U.S. real estate market, jumped 16.9% from the previous month to a 657,000 annualized pace. Analysts had called for a modest gain of 2.9%.
Attention on Friday shifts to nonfarm payrolls, arguably the most closely watched data event of the month. Job creation likely slowed considerably in January, with economists forecasting a monthly gain of 165,000 new hires. Employers added a whopping 312,000 workers to payrolls in December as average hourly earnings jumped to nine-year highs.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Chart via TradingView.
Last modified: March 4, 2021 2:53 PM