Investments, not products, raise Microsoft’s profits

Herald staff

SEATTLE — First-quarter net income at Microsoft Corp. rose 7 percent, though the bulk of the software giant’s profit increase didn’t come from its products.

For the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, Microsoft earned 46 cents per share, excluding an accounting charge. Earnings were 40 cents per share in the year-ago period.

Most of the company’s profit increase came from a $557 million gain on the company’s investment portfolio, and not from actual operations.

"Obviously they’ve invested well, but it’s trouble for any company when you’re not making your money from your own operations," said Kurt Schlegel, an analyst at META Group in New York.

The results still surpassed expectations of Wall Street analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial, who were predicting 41 cents per share.

  • Recall hurts Ford: The recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires helped drive Ford Motor Co.’s profit down about 7 percent in the third quarter, but the world’s second biggest automaker said Wednesday that its business was still solid. Ford said Wednesday it earned $888 million in the July-September period compared with earnings from continuing operations of $959 million a year ago.

  • Wednesday prices: Gold sold for $272.00 a troy ounce, silver sold for $4.885 for the same amount and platinum sold for $581.90.

  • Inflation rises: Consumer inflation rose 0.5 percent in September, the biggest increase since June, as energy costs rebounded sharply and retailers boosted prices of their fall clothing lines by the largest amount in a decade, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

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