After years of gains, the stock market is starting to show signs of a broader slowdown, at least in the eyes of investors and analysts who are citing conditions that come with a bear market. However, two of the tech industry’s biggest cash cows, Seattle-area frenemies Amazon and Microsoft, are set to report their quarterly financials this week, potentially giving some hope to skittish investors worried about outside forces such as trade wars and political instability.
It starts with Microsoft, which, after a historic financial year, is set to report its first quarter results after the market closes today. Analysts surveyed in advance expect Microsoft to post earnings of $0.96 per share on revenue of $27.9 billion in revenue.
In addition to those overall numbers, we’ll be watching the continued growth of Microsoft’s cloud division as well as the impact of LinkedIn on the company’s financials.
Microsoft stock skyrocketed 43 percent during its record fiscal year, reaching the $100 per share threshold for the first time at the beginning of July. Shares rose another 15 percent between July and the beginning of October. But since Oct. 1, Microsoft stock has dropped 6.5 percent. During that same period, the Nasdaq Stock Market, where Microsoft and Amazon are both listed, has gone down nearly 8 percent.
It’s been a busy quarter for Microsoft. The company held its annual Ignite conference for IT pros and developers in Orlando in September and announced a flurry of new products, services and hardware. Just after the quarter ended, Microsoft held a devices event in New York City, where it announced the latest versions of the Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop and unveiled a set of $349 Surface headphones.
Microsoft announced one of its biggest alliances in recent history in July, teaming up with Walmart in a five-year deal that will focus on a “a broad set of cloud innovation projects,” covering both Azure and Office 365. Walmart is perhaps Amazon’s biggest retail rival, and Microsoft is battling the tech giant in the cloud.
Despite their competition, Amazon and Microsoft have found common ground in a couple areas. The tech giants rolled out the first integrations between their digital assistants Alexa and Cortana during the quarter. Microsoft also added voice commands for Alexa and Cortana to Xbox.
And all of that activity comes as Microsoft is preparing to renovate its massive Redmond, Wash. headquarters campus. Microsoft also recently announced plans for a new $570 million Canadian headquarters in Toronto, joining other tech giants like Google and Uber in planting flags in the city.
Amazon will report its financials tomorrow after markets close. Analysts are looking for Amazon to post earnings of $3.12 per share on $57.1 billion in revenue.
Like Microsoft, Amazon stock has been on a steady rise, shooting up 81 percent over the last year, including a 17 percent bump in the quarter ending Sept. 30. Amazon even briefly topped $1 trillion in market cap in September. But since the beginning of the month, Amazon stock is down about 7 percent, fitting with the overall trend in the market.
We’ll also be watching the company’s employee numbers, as the tech giant revealed last quarter that it has slowed external hiring in favor of internal re-shuffling. Advertising is another bright spot for Amazon as its newest multi-billion dollar business. A recent report found that Amazon is set to displace Microsoft in U.S. advertising revenues this year, joining Google and Facebook as one of the top three digital ad publishers.
Amazon’s busy quarter was headlined by its biggest devices event yet and a record-setting Prime Day. Last month, Amazon unveiled 13 new devices — including everything from subwoofers and amplifiers to an Alexa-powered microwave — as well as a flurry of new Alexa-related software capabilities, developer tools and other features at an event at its Seattle HQ.
The fourth edition of the manufactured shopping event Prime Day was the “biggest shopping event in Amazon history.” Amazon said it sold more than 100 million items on Prime Day, despite widespread glitches that plagued the July event early on.
This quarter, Amazon kicked the expansion of its Amazon Go cashier-less convenience store concept into high gear. Amazon spent more than a year refining the technology behind the concept before opening the first Go store to the public. Seven months after the public debut of store No. 1, Amazon opened its second store in August. Since then, Amazon has opened four more stores in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco with a few more on the horizon.
Amazon also debuted a new brick and mortar retail concept this quarter. Amazon 4-star, which stocks items with a rating above four stars on Amazon.com, as well as best-sellers and new and trending items, opened in New York city last month.