Those who thought that trade disputes, a slowing global economy and worries about interest rates would cap the value of the American stock markets have been proven wrong. The Dow Jones industrial average has broken another record, trading above 27,000 for the first time. It is worth remembering that it hit a Great Recession low near 6,547 roughly a decade ago.
One stock has paced the Dow most of the year and is now the best-performing stock in the index for 2019. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) shares are up 36.75% so far this year to $138.90. The Dow is higher by 17.17% to 27,332.03. The comeback of the huge software company’s stock has been based on several factors that have allowed it to emerge from a period when the shares were largely ignored.
Started in 1975, Microsoft saw early success driven by its Windows operating system, which was used in almost every personal computer in the world. The company extended its revenue as Windows moved to become the key operating system to the growing number of the world’s servers. Along the way, it moved into the video game business via the Xbox. It also created one of the most widely used web browsers.
Microsoft’s dominance and revenue growth stalled a great deal under CEO Steve Ballmer. He left in 2014 and Satya Nadella replaced him. While Nadella has created a number of initiatives that have improved Microsoft’s fortunes, the most important is Microsoft’s foray into cloud computing. The cloud has become a primary component of many tech products and services around the world.
The importance of the cloud in Microsoft’s financials shows up in its most recent quarterly earnings. The headline of the earnings release said, “Microsoft Cloud Strength Drives Third Quarter Results.” Overall revenue for the entire company