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Microsoft warns of hit to earnings, sales due to strong dollar

Microsoft Thursday cut its fourth-quarter forecast for profit and revenue, making it the latest US company to warn of a hit from a stronger greenback and sending its shares down 1.5% in midday trading. A hawkish Federal Reserve and heightened geopolitical tensions have driven a 14% gain in the dollar against a basket of currencies over the last year, forcing companies such as Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble to temper expectations for the rest of the year. A stronger greenback typically eats into the profits of companies with sprawling international operations that convert foreign currency into dollars and has added to corporate worries over soaring inflation. “Software companies including Microsoft have significant operations outside the US and I think Microsoft is being prudent here to get ahead of (market) expectations and be transparent around currency impacts,” said Steve Koenig, managing director at SMBC Nikko Securities. Microsoft, which gets about half its revenue from outside the United States, lowered its revenue forecast for all three segments, including Windows products, cloud and personal computing. The tech giant expects revenue for the quarter to be between $51.94 billion and $52.74 billion, down from its prior range of $52.40 billion to $53.20 billion. It cut the profit view to between $2.24 and $2.32 per share from a prior expectation of between $2.28 and $2.35 per share. Analysts are forecasting earnings of $2.33 per share on revenue of $52.87 billion, according to Refinitiv data. The company in April forecast double-digit revenue growth for the next fiscal year, thanks to demand for its office software and cloud services as economies reopen and businesses shift to a hybrid model of allowing staff to alternatively work from office and home.

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