Microsoft jumps 7% as cloud services see pickup

Key Points
  • Microsoft said on Sunday that some of its online services have been getting greater usage as people keep working from home.
  • The company's shares rose more than the other four major technology stocks on Monday.
Amy Hood, CFO of Microsoft with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

Shares of Microsoft closed up 7% on Monday, outperforming other major technology stocks for the day after the company disclosed a surge in use of its online services.

Microsoft is among those seeing gains by providing software that workers can use to communicate with one another while staying home to reduce spread of the coronavirus, which has taken over 36,000 lives.

Microsoft fields the Teams app that enables people to hold video calls and exchange chat messages. On March 18 Microsoft said Teams had added 12 million more daily users in the course of one week, for a total of 44 million.

On Monday Microsoft introduced a version of its Microsoft 365 bundle that will make Teams available to consumers. 

"We have seen a 775% increase in Teams' calling and meeting monthly users in a one-month period in Italy, where social distancing or shelter in place orders have been enforced," Microsoft said on Monday in an update to a blog post that was originally published on Saturday.

People also continue to use the older Skype app, which has 40 million daily users, up 70% from one month ago, Microsoft said. Microsoft's Windows Virtual Desktop and Power BI services have seen upticks as well, the company said.

Stifel analysts led by Brad Reback flagged the statistics in a note distributed to clients on Monday.

"We believe COVID-19 will continue to accelerate the shift to flexible and scalable cloud services, and we believe Microsoft remains well positioned to capitalize on these trends both in the short term (as evidenced with the aforementioned stats) and long term (as COVID-19 accelerates digital transformation)," the analysts wrote.

Microsoft and a handful of smaller technology names selling products people can use while working from home -- RingCentral, Slack, Zoom -- have outperformed U.S. indices in recent weeks.

Microsoft is down 1% for the month of March, while the Nasdaq has fallen 9% and the S&P 500 is down 11%. For all of 2020, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have declined 19% and 13% so far, and Microsoft is up 1.6%.

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