The Nasdaq opened strongly today, up .85% in early trading. Technology investors can thank solid earnings for helping push the index higher. Here are two of the top technology stories driving the market this morning.
Oracle saw sales rise 12% over last year's haul with earnings and sales both beating expectations. Forward guidance showed sales coming a bit slow, but that's in part due to Oracle cutting down on lower-margin hardware sales. As usual, the company's conference call featured plenty of trash talking with CEO Larry Ellison saying he wouldn't care if sales of x86 servers -- the kind that predominately uses Intel (NAS: INTC) chips -- "goes to zero." Investors didn't mind the forward-looking sales bump, and shares are up 7% in early trading.
Adobe issued promising quarterly results and forward-looking guidance as well. Sales last quarter were slightly below estimates, but earnings beat by a penny. Guidance was ahead of expectations. Shares are ticking up 3%, after opening the day up 5%.
Neither company exactly posted blow-out quarters, but in today's tech climate that's a reason to celebrate. Toward the end of last earnings season we saw several companies discuss rapidly decelerating demand as economic outlook softened and macroeconomic issues like the fear of U.S. default softened spending by end customers. NetApp (NAS: NTAP) was probably the poster child of this. As CEO Tom Georgens stated on the company's last conference call, "[T]he trajectory weakened as the last month [mostly July] was roughly half the growth rate of the first, causing us to come in lower than where we had anticipated. Economic conditions remain uncertain."
While neither Adobe nor Oracle posted shockingly good results, both company's results pointed toward a stabilizing IT environment, which is a good omen for the entire industry.
Tech News No. 2: Microsoft goes for dividend gold
After the market closed yesterday Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) announced it was upping its dividend a whopping 25% to $0.20 per quarter. Investors were expecting a rise to $0.19 a quarter, so this should come as a nice surprise to income-focused investors.
There's little doubt Microsoft can pay its increased dividend. Prior to this increase its payout ratio was a paltry 22%. If anything, this should make Microsoft more attractive to value-focused investors who love the company's consistent cash flow but are afraid it might waste its cash on ill-conceived buyouts.
That's it for today's tech recap. To stay apprised, add any of the major companies mentioned here to our free My Watchlist service today:
At the time thisarticle was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. You can follow Eric on Twitter to see all of his technology and market commentary. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle and Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Adobe Systems, Microsoft, and Intel.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a diagonal call position in Intel and Adobe Systems, as well as a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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