MarketWatch First Take: The secrets behind Microsoft’s big profit beat and dot-com boom share price

Microsoft Corp. stock hit levels it has not seen since the dot-com boom Thursday evening, thanks to cloud computing and a bit of financial engineering.

Microsoft MSFT, -0.49%reported profits for its fiscal first quarter Thursday that beat Wall Street’s expectations by more than 11%. Investors responded by boosting Microsoft shares higher than $60, up almost 6% after-hours, to what would be the tech giant’s highest per-share price since Microsoft’s heyday in 1999.

Microsoft executives credited the momentum in its cloud business as a big factor in the beat. Revenue in Microsoft’s Azure cloud business, which competes with Amazon.com Inc.

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