Investors in US IT behemoths will closely examine if the cost-cutting measures increased profits to their satisfaction after a quarter of record layoffs, even as the businesses underline how artificial intelligence will be their next growth driver.
This week sees the release of quarterly results from Microsoft Corp., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Instagram owner Meta Platforms Inc., and Amazon.com Inc.
They control a market capitalization of more than $5 trillion collectively, or more than 14% of the value of the S&P 500 (.SPX) index.
According to Refinitiv, analysts predict that Microsoft, Alphabet, and Meta’s combined profits would increase 4.5%, on average, from the most recent quarter. Meta’s bottom line is expected to increase by 11.8%. The average company’s profit is anticipated to decline by about 16% from the prior year, with Microsoft forecast to fare the best with a 0.5% decline.
Following a pandemic-driven hiring boom, these three corporations announced, along with Amazon, that they would eliminate 70,000 employees between November and March when the economy began to deteriorate quickly. Meta has made two rounds of layoff announcements.
Amazon.com Inc is expected to report a first-quarter profit that is expected to increase eight times when compared to the immediately preceding quarter. This comes after the company reported a significant drop in fourth-quarter profit due to valuation losses as a result of its investment in the loss-making EV manufacturer Rivian Automotive.
Amazon’s North American sales are anticipated to surpass Wall Street forecasts in the first quarter, claims research firm YipitData.
Since the end of the previous quarter, when chief executives crammed earnings conferences with references to the technology, the corporations are probably going to provide updates on their AI initiatives.
The message from Big Tech this quarter is expected to be more forward-looking around the enormous potential of artificial intelligence, according to Andrew Lipsman, analyst at Insider Intelligence. “If last quarter’s message from Big Tech was all about efficiency and bottom line improvement, this quarter’s message is likely to be more forward-looking around the massive potential of artificial intelligence,” he said.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine now uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology, making it competitive with Google, the industry leader.
The public rollout of Google’s chatbot Bard has started.
The largest cloud provider in the world, AWS from Amazon, has unveiled a set of tools to assist other businesses in creating their own chatbots powered by AI, and Meta has published an AI model that can identify certain things in a picture.
It’s kind of a two-edged sword because these companies are also under pressure to increase cash flow in a slowing economy, according to Itau BBA analyst Thiago Kapulskis.
Analysts noted that the cloud businesses of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft were also more steady than anticipated.
The shares of Microsoft and Alphabet have both increased by 19% so far this year. Amazon and Apple both increased by 23% and 28%, respectively. Shares of Meta have risen by about 77%.
Apple, the largest firm in the world, is coping with sluggish demand for iPhones and MacBooks as customers cut down on spending. Apple is due to announce profits on May 4.