4. Microsoft (MSFT) sells software.
It delivered 77 cents of adjusted quarterly earnings, representing 4.1% year-over-year growth and exceeding the consensus estimate by 13%. Microsoft has beaten expectations in eight consecutive quarters. The top-line figure passed consensus by 4.2%. The entertainment and devices unit grew revenue 55%, helped by solid holiday sales of Xbox 360 and quicker-than-anticipated adoption of the Kinect sensor. The business division boosted sales 24%, helped by sales of Office 2010, now the fastest-selling consumer version in product history.
12-Month Sales Growth: 14%
12-Month Profit Growth: 27%
12-Month Stock Performance: -1.8%
3-Year Annualized Sales Growth: 4.8%
3-Year Annualized Profit Growth: 6.7%
3-Year Annualized Stock Performance: -2.8%
3-Year Annualized Dividend Growth: 10%
5-Year Annualized Dividend Growth: 11%
Bullish Scenario: Stifel Financial rates Microsoft "buy", predicting its stock will gain 32% to $37. Bearish Scenario: Barclays ranks Microsoft "equal weight", expecting a rise of 7% to $30.
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