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Cloud is a 'once in a generation' opportunity for Microsoft, analyst says

Microsoft's big beat

Microsoft's win streak in cloud could be a sign that the company is hitting a turning point, one analyst told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Friday.

"I think this is really the inflection point, you're going to see gross margins steadily move up from the 40 level to the 50s and maybe even into the 60 percent range as we get a year out," said Kirk Materne, managing director of equity research at Evercore Partners.

Shares of the technology company hit an all-time high on Friday, breaking through their 1999 dot-com era peak to close up 4.2 percent. It followed a better-than-expected quarterly earnings report.

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The company posted adjusted first-quarter earnings per share of 76 cents on revenue of $22.33 billion. Wall Street also expected Microsoft to report earnings of about 68 cents a share on $21.71 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

The company also said its cloud revenue grew 116 percent.

Materne said the company is at the cusp of a multiyear growth cycle, as investments in the company's cloud technology start to pay off.

"Cloud is a once-in-a-generation technology transformation that is happening," Neeraj Agrawal, a general partner at venture capital firm Battery Ventures, told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." He said the company's best quarters are ahead of them. "Very impressive. I think there is a lot more to go from here."

Cloud biz lifts Microsoft stock

Microsoft indeed tends to outperform a month after beating earnings expectations by a margin of 1.5 standard deviations or more, according to Kensho data.

"Typically after a move like this, you get follow-through," said Carter Worth, head of technical analysis at Cornerstone Macro, on CNBC's "Closing Bell." Morgan Stanley managing director Keith Weiss said the company was "hitting all cylinders."

Nineteen analysts listed in FactSet raised their price targets on the stock. But despite the company's solid results, not every Wall Street analyst was convinced.

"The lamest thing a sell-side analyst does is downgrade a plummeting stock after a miss," wrote Richard Davis of Canaccord Genuity. "The second worst action is to upgrade a stock after a good print and the stock has popped. The latter explains our reluctance to upgrade MSFT from HOLD to Buy today."

— CNBC's Christine Wang contributed to this report.