Investors are gearing up for Microsoft's latest quarterly report, and will focus on this key factor: operating expenditures.
"Some of the head-count reduction they have done in the last calendar year … can drive some upside in the opex side,"Stifel Nicolaus analyst Brad Reback told CNBC.com.
Microsoft, which is expected to post fiscal third-quarter results Thursday after the bell, has been a beacon for financial discipline recently.
In a note Monday, analysts at Stifel said the company has beaten Wall Street's expenses forecast or come in below the midpoint of the company's guidance every quarter since Amy Hood took over as CFO in May 2013.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect earnings per share of 64 cents on revenue of $22.1 billion.
The tech giant expects operating expenditures to range between $7.7 billion and $7.8 billion.
"The bottom line is we expect this cost discipline to continue, all while the company prioritizes opex spend toward higher growth areas (e.g., commercial cloud) and areas where Microsoft can differentiate," Stifel said.