Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) stock jumped over 1.3% on Wednesday toward its 52-week high at $74.42 per share. Since January, the stock has increased nearly 20% due to strong performance in its cloud-based services. The stock is poised to break out from an ascending triangle pattern, which could send shares significantly higher to fresh 52-week highs.
During the fourth quarter, Microsoft reported revenue that increased 9.1% to $24.7 billion – beating consensus estimates by $430 million – while earnings per share of 98 cents beat consensus estimates by 27 cents per share. The core driver behind the revenue growth was cloud revenue, which increased 11% to $7.4 billion, driven by 97% growth in Azure cloud-based services, which helped offset weaker revenue in other areas. (See also: Microsoft Could Surpass Amazon in Cloud Computing This Year.)
From a technical standpoint, the stock is approaching trendline resistance at its prior highs of $74.42 in an ascending triangle pattern. The relative strength index (RSI) has increased to 62.20, nearing overbought levels, but the moving average convergence divergence (MACD) could see a bullish crossover in the near term. Traders should maintain a bullish bias on the stock given the recent increase in price over the past several months.
Traders should watch for a breakout from upper trendline resistance at $74.42 to R1 resistance at $75.01 or beyond. If the stock fails to break out, traders should watch for a move lower to trendline support at $72.00. The ascending triangle pattern shows a price target of about $80.00 per share using the price range of $68.00 to $74.00. Traders should also keep in mind that the company will report earnings on Oct. 19. (For more, see: Microsoft's Reincarnation and the Cloud Revolution.)
Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com. The author holds no position in the stock(s) mentioned except through passively managed index funds.