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History shows a rising Microsoft should lift all tech

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella speaks at a shareholders' meeting in Bellevue, Washington.
Jason Redmond | Reuters
Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella speaks at a shareholders' meeting in Bellevue, Washington.

Microsoft is partying like it's 1999. The software giant took out its previous tech-bubble levels, hitting a new all-time high after the company reported better-than expected quarterly earnings Thursday.

Results were driven by strength in the tech giant's cloud business, with revenue in Microsoft's Azure cloud-computing services rocketing higher, growing at 116 percent in the most recent quarter.

Microsoft has emerged as a bellwether for all of tech, with its cloud, PC and mobile businesses. And history shows gains by the company's stock precedes advances by the rest of the tech sector.



Using CNBC's analytics partner Kensho, we looked at how the tech sector performed a month after Microsoft reported an EPS beat by an above average magnitude (greater than 1.5 standard deviations above the mean).

Over the last decade, the S&P tech sector is consistently positive, finishing the month up 81 percent of the time with an average return of 0.35 percent. While a relatively small return, it outpaces the S&P 500 which historically logs a slight loss.

The positive momentum in Microsoft tends to continue — a month later the software giant is up 64 percent of the time with an average return of 3.3 percent.

One other interesting note, when Microsoft beats, it's usually big. When the earnings beat is greater than 1 standard deviation over the mean, 90 percent of the time it lands at least 1.5 standard deviation above the mean.

— CNBC parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Kensho.