|Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Earnings season for tech companies has been hit or miss so far but Microsoft ( MSFT) looks primed to pick up some of the slack despite a global PC slowdown amid a struggling economy. Worldwide PC shipments grew 3.2% last quarter, which was lower than expected because of increased competition from lower priced tablets and smartphones, according to Gartner, but Collins Stewart said in a research note Wednesday that strength from corporate buying to upgrade to Windows 7 should offset softness on the consumer side for Microsoft.
"PC market data points suggest a continuation of several trends for the first half of this year, with weakness in consumer demand in developed markets being offset by growth in businesses and in emerging markets," the firm wrote. "Still PCs should show improving Y/Y
year-over-year growth relative to recent quarters, as Gartner last week indicated PC market growth of 3% (versus a 2% Y/Y decline in the first half of C2011), and comparisons ease more so for MSFT in future quarters." Analysts expect Microsoft to report earnings of 68 cents per share and revenue of $17.25 billion in the September-ended quarter. The Dow component has topped Wall Street's consensus view in every quarter for the past two years, delivering an average upside surprise of 15.4% over that span. Here are five reasons to buy Microsoft right now:
Even in the last 10 years Microsoft shares haven't wavered much, apart from when the markets tanked in 2009 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Understanding that some shareholders might want to be rewarded a bit more for their investment in the company, Microsoft last month upped quarterly dividend by 25% to 20 cents a share, implying a forward annual yield of 2.9% based on Wednesday's close at $27.13. This gives Microsoft one of the highest dividend yields among large tech companies, which have historically shied away from issuing the payments to shareholders, and it's also much better than the current 2.1% yield on the 10-year Treasury bond.