CHRIS VERSACE: Good morning, subscribers, and happy hump day. As we Zoom in on three stocks this week, we have a healthy blend of earnings and news to make our way through. But before we get there, I want to briefly touch on a name that's been on the top of minds for many members. That is the shares of AMN Healthcare which closed down almost 5% yesterday without any clear, specific news.
Now in searching around for the catalyst for that move later, there was no apparent company-specific news. And in our digging, we tied it back to a comment made by company Danaher about the waiting impact of the pandemic on its business. Now clearly, that's been a driver for nursing-staffing solutions in AMN Healthcare. But in our view, what Danaher had to say is hardly new news. Candidly, it's been expected, and it's something that we've already baked into our expectations for AMN.
Now what that Danaher "news" doesn't really speak to is the ongoing nursing shortage, which as members know, it's a key aspect for a thesis for AMN shares. Later this week, in our view, we're going to get a lot more of an insightful update from HCA Healthcare. But even when we get those comments, we have to remember HCA Healthcare is a hospital-focused company, and the nursing shortage spans far, far wider than just hospitals.
Now all of this is going to have us to keep our eyes on AMN shares. And we may, once again, use the current mismatch between the "news," quote unquote, and the underlying fundamentals for the portfolio to wade into AMN shares one step further.
Now, with that said, let's talk about three stocks that we're watching today. First up is Elevance. The company reported a solid quarter early this morning-- revenue up 10% year-over-year, continued growth in enrollment, EPS topped expectations, and its guidance calls for low, double-digit net income growth. The company also boosted its dividend by 16%.
Now in normal times, this would be a very, very positive earnings report. But amid the backdrop that we're seeing unfold that is increasingly playing out, as we suspected when it comes to 2023 earnings being revised lower, we continue to think the predictable nature of Elevance's Vance's business and suspect that dividend increase will continue to win converts.
Now let's talk about the company weighing on today's market-- Microsoft. While the company delivered a better than feared December quarter, its guidance for the current quarter came up short. PC demand is expected to remain under pressure-- something we've heard from Micron and Taiwan Semiconductor.
But it was the guidance for its cloud business that was the biggest surprise. That business was up mid-30% on a constant currency basis in the December quarter. But Microsoft sees it slowing dramatically to up only 4% to 5% in the current quarter, again, on a constant currency basis.
What's the reason? Companies continue to pare back spending in an uncertain environment. We also heard that from F5 Networks as it too came up short with its outlook for the current quarter last night. So what did F5 have to say? Quote, "--the broader economic uncertainty, pervasive budget scrutiny, and spending caution." When it comes to those comments, members, as well as those from Microsoft, we have to say, are we surprised?
Now on the one hand, we're not. And I say this because we've been paying close attention to the economic data, especially the PMI data from ISM and S&P Global, that has pointed to the contracting economic environment, raising concerns about corporate spending.
On the other hand, however, that revision for Microsoft's cloud spending is sizable in terms of a quarter-over-quarter drop. And to be candid, it's going to weigh on expectations for what Amazon and Google have to say when they report their quarterly results next week.
But when they do, we will have a much better sense about the cloud environment and corporate spending on cloud. We'll also start to understand if there's some Microsoft market share position shifting at play. Remember, quarter to quarter, cloud can be a little lumpy as market shares tend to shift. And we're going to want to see if that is indeed the case and if so, to what extent.
But also, too, connecting the dots, Microsoft comments on PCs as well as that for cloud will weigh on the shares of AMD, NVIDIA, Intel as they report their guidance in the coming days. And expectations are once again reset.
But again, remember members, we have been concerned about this rethink for 2023 earnings expectations, which is why we've hung on to the portfolio's cash and the market inverse ETF positions. With hundreds of companies left to report in the coming weeks, we see that resetting continuing. That will keep us on the cautious path even as we continue to look for new opportunities for the portfolio.
Finally, I want to wrap up with a name that's no longer in the portfolio, but one whose news could impact our view of inflation and what's ahead for the market as well as the broader economy. And that company is Walmart. Yesterday, Walmart announced it will raise its minimum wage to $14.00 an hour for store employees.
More than likely, we will see other follow-- we will see other companies follow Walmart's lead-- a potential headwind for the Fed's efforts to tame inflation, specifically that for wage inflation. And that, more than likely, could extend its monetary policy efforts. Now that's not something currently priced into the market narrative. And it is a potential wrinkle for us to factor into our thinking as we game out what's ahead for the market in the next few quarters.
That'll do it for today's round up. JD Durkin and I will be back tomorrow to answer some of your biggest questions. With that in mind, please continue to send your questions to AAPClub@thestreet.com. And we'll see you tomorrow.