Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon give Wall Street reason to cheer

Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:09am EDT
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By Sweta Singh and Abhirup Roy

(Reuters) - Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O: Quote), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote) and Inc (AMZN.O: Quote) made headway in the latest quarter in the areas that will be their main engines of growth for years to come, driving up shares across the tech sector on Friday.

Shares of all three surged in early trading, adding more than $120 billion to their combined market value - more than the gross domestic product of Morocco.

For Alphabet, search traffic on mobiles surpassed desktop traffic worldwide for the first time, while Amazon was able to boost margins, an area of concern, as its cloud business boomed.

Microsoft's growing emphasis on cloud computing under Chief Executive Satya Nadella also put the company on track successfully transition away from its slowing business that relies on sales of personal computers.

Alphabet's shares jumped 10.5 percent to a record high of $752.50 in early trading, adding about $50 billion to its market value. This gave Alphabet a market cap of about $522.5 billion, cementing its position as the second-most valuable stock after Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote), which is worth about $660 billion.

Microsoft's shares jumped 11.6 percent to $53.61 - their highest in 15 years - while Amazon surged as much as 10 percent to $619.45, also a record high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index .IXIC was up about 1.8 percent.

"I think what you're seeing is these companies finally able to address the primary challenges that have been facing the businesses," said James Cakmak, an analyst at brokerage Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co in New York.

"For Amazon it's margin, for Alphabet it's mobile, for Microsoft it's the cloud or diversifying away from its legacy businesses."   Continued...

Letters spell the word "Alpahbet" as they are seen on a computer screen with a Google search page in this photo illustration taken in Paris, France, August 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol