Morning Coffee – Microsoft, Wal-Mart & Best Buy

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is expected to announce the market release of Office 365, a web-based productivity software product, tomorrow at an event in New York. Office 365′s beta version was launched in the autumn of 2010, and the release signals a symbolic shift away from the traditional way of selling software to cloud computing. For the forecast of the day, we look at Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) international ambitions. The company recently received approval for its acquisition of South African retailer Massmart and looks to expand more aggressively into Africa with the hope of imitating its success in Latin America. Finally we test readers' knowledge on Best Buy's ( BBY ) international presence below.

Company of the Day - Microsoft

Microsoft Office 365 is a clear move by the company to establish itself in the cloud-computing market. This can be viewed as a defensive move as competitors like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Salesforce.com ( CRM ) and Amazon ( AMZN ) have rolled out cloud platforms well ahead of Microsoft. At the same time, IDC indicate that software-oriented services will account for roughly three-quarters of all spending in public cloud services by 2015 indicating that this move could also be viewed as a proactive move on the software giant's part.

Office is the most valuable business for Microsoft and accounts for more than 30% of our $27 price estimate for Microsoft stock .

See our full analysis

Forecast of the Day - Wal-Mart's International Store Growth

The retail leader is looking to aggressively expand overseas, including a push into Africa with its recent Massmart acquisition. The company hopes to replicate LatAm's success in the African continent. Massmart runs nine wholesale and retail chains with approximately 288 stores in 14 African countries.

Wal-Mart believes that South Africa is a key market for growth and it accounts for roughly 20% of consumer spending on the African continent. Africa could act as a crucial base for Wal-Mart to target other local countries in the region. Countries like Nigeria are gaining greater appeal due to rising affluence levels and increasing size of the middle class across Africa.

Wal-Mart also recently bought a stake in Yihaodian, a fast-growing online retailer of groceries, consumer electronics and apparels. Yihaodian operates next-day delivery service for essential daily goods at competitive prices. It has 2,000 employees and over 75,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) with its logistics network bases located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

See our full analysis

What percent of Best Buy's value is generated by non-US stores?  

  1. 45%
  2. 23%
  3. 35%
  4. 13%

See the quiz on our home page .



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks , US Markets

Referenced Stocks: AMZN , BBY , CRM

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