Microsoft becomes third listed US firm to be valued at $1tn | Business

Microsoft has become the third publicly listed US company, after Apple and Amazon, to boast a market value of more than $1tn after bumper quarterly results boosted its share price.

The company beat sales and profits expectations in the three months to 31 March, thanks in part to its cloud computing business, which signed up major corporate clients over the period.

Microsoft shares rose as much as 5% in early trading on Thursday, briefly pushing its market value above $1tn (£775bn) for the first time before dipping back below again when the shares price gain eased.

It was the latest tech firm to join the prestigious club, after rival Apple and then Amazon topped the $1tn mark last year.

Since then, the shares of both companies have fallen back and Microsoft now has the biggest market capitalisation of any US stock market listed company.

Shares in Facebook were also trading higher, up 6%, after it easily beat forecasts with a 26% jump in quarterly revenues to more than $15bn and an 8% rise in active users.

The better-than-expected results from Microsoft and Facebook helped to push the tech-focused Nasdaq share index in New York to a new high over 8,138 points.

The boost for Microsoft came after it reported a 14% increase in revenue in its third quarter to $30.6bn. Net income rose 19% to $8.8bn. Revenues in its cloud computing division jumped 14%, with US grocery firm Kroger and Walgreens Boots Alliance among the big client wins.

Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, said: “Leading organisations of every size in every industry trust the Microsoft cloud. We are accelerating our innovation across the cloud and edge so our customers can build the digital capability increasingly required to compete and grow.”

Shares in Microsoft were up 3.4% at $129 at lunchtime in New York, giving it a market value of about $995bn. Apple is worth around $970bn and Amazon is close behind at $940bn.

Brad Reback of stockbrokers Stifel said Microsoft has a bright future: “We continue to believe the shift to the cloud will be additive to Microsoft given a broader portfolio of products with deeper functionality as well as Microsoft’s ability to enter new categories where it did not compete previously.”

Stifel has raised its price target for Microsoft to $150 from $130.

“Cloud is clearly the way forward for Microsoft and demand for these services is expected to remain strong,” said Jasper Lawler, the head of research at London Capital Group.

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