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Microsoft profits jump 33 %

Microsoft's quarterly profit and revenue sailed past expectations Thursday, as CEO Satya Nadella's push to embrace cloud computing and diversify into mobile devices helped lift sales by 25 percent.

Revenue from cloud services, including software delivered over the Internet, more than doubled last quarter at a time when some of Microsoft's better-known segments are slowing. Shares jumped over 3 percent in after-hours trading. The stock, which closed at $45.02 before the results were released, is up 33 percent in the last 12 months.

Microsoft still makes most of its money from selling traditional software for businesses and home computers. But Nadella has acknowledged that traditional software has an uncertain future, as people buy fewer personal computers and businesses switch to software that can be accessed online, instead of installing programs on individual machines.

The tech giant reported net income of $4.54 billion, or 54 cents per share, for its fiscal first quarter that ended in September - beating analysts' consensus estimate of 49 cents per share, according to FactSet. That's down from $5.24 billion, or 62 cents per share, a year ago, due to over $1 billion in costs to restructure and integrate its recent purchase of Nokia's smartphone business. The company also spent more on sales, marketing and research and development during the three-month period.


CapitalMark boosts profits

CapitalMark Bank & Trust said Thursday it earned $1.52 million in the third quarter, up 19.7 percent from the $1.27 million earned in the same period a year ago.

The Chattanooga-based banking firm said net income in the first nine months of 2014 is up 32 percent to $4.8 million, propelled by a 22 percent growth in loans and 42 percent increase in non-interest bearing deposits.

"CapitalMark had another quarter of strong results fueled by exceptional loan and noninterest bearing deposit growth," CapitalMark CEO R. Craig Holleuy said in a statement Thursday. "With $910.5 million in total assets, we continue to build core earnings capacity and an operating profile that positions CapitalMark well for the future."

CapitalMark ranks No. 6 out of 50 financial institutions that serve the bank's 4-county market area, which include Anderson, Bradley, Hamilton, and Knox counties, according to new FDIC reports.

CapitalMark operates private client offices throughout East Tennessee in Chattanooga, Cleveland, Knoxville and Oak Ridge.


BlueChristmas for Amazon?

It might be a blue Christmas for Amazon.

The world's largest retailer gave a disappointing forecast for the crucial holiday quarter. The company also reported a wider loss than analysts expected for the third quarter.

Thursday's financial results could end investors' patience with Amazon's slim profit and its strategy of investing heavily in new products and services to spur revenue growth. The stock price tumbled 11 percent in after-market trading. That's on top of the 22 percent decline the stock has already suffered this year.

"The market was looking for more in terms of revenue and operating income and the fourth-quarter outlook," said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy. "It's going to be a competitive landscape for retailers this holiday season and retailers will compete aggressively for consumers."

Amazon said it expects holiday quarter revenue of $27.3 billion and $30.3 billion, below analyst expectations of $30.9 billion. That's an increase of 7 percent to 18 percent - slower growth than the prior-year holiday quarter when sales rose 20 percent.


GM profits beat expectations

General Motors reported third-quarter earnings of $1.38 billion Thursday, nearly doubling its $698 million profit from the period a year earlier as margins improved in its core North American operations.

For most of the year, GM has been grappling with about $4 billion in costs associated with safety recalls.

The performance exceeded analysts' expectations, despite special charges that included reducing the value of assets in the troubled Russian car market. The company appeared to benefit from improving sales of newer models in North America and China.

Mary T. Barra, GM's chief executive, called the results "very solid" and said the company was succeeding even though turmoil was hurting overseas markets.

"Despite industry challenges in Russia and South America, our earnings were on plan as we continue to execute our customer-focused strategy," Barra said.

GM, the nation's largest automaker, reported revenue of $39.3 billion, up slightly from about $39 billion in the third quarter of 2013.

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