Should You Buy Microsoft Stock Before Thursday?

It’s one of the more nerve-racking decisions investors must sometimes make. Should you buy a stock immediately before the company reports earnings, or should you wait? Making the wrong call can prove costly, and that cost is often paid in the form of missed gains.

Software giant Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is forcing such a decision on investors right now. The company is scheduled to post its fiscal third-quarter numbers after this Thursday’s closing bell rings. Although the stock has proven incredibly rewarding since early last year, its pronounced weakness over the course of the past few days is a serious red flag. Are investors filing out of their Microsoft shares in anticipation of disappointing Q3 numbers? If so, it could be a hint that they’re already planning on seeing the proverbial glass as half-empty rather than half-full. Or maybe this recent sell-off is a mistake that will be corrected by a bullish catalyst waiting within the third-quarter report?

Obviously nobody owns a crystal ball. From a risk-management perspective, though, the smart move right now is not buying Microsoft stock before Thursday’s release of its Q3 results. Here’s why.

Timing isn’t actually everything, but…

First things first.

A year from now it won’t really matter if you bought Microsoft before or after its upcoming earnings report. Whether it rises or falls on Friday, Microsoft stock isn’t going to make any move that day that meaningfully compares to the movement you’re likely to see during the five-year (at a minimum) timeframe you should have in mind. That’s just the nature of the market. The short-term ebb and flow is unpredictable because it’s often irrational. In the long run, though, you can count on a stock reflecting its underlying company’s fiscal results.

If it just doesn’t feel right to not at least try to optimize your trades’ entries, though, the lower-risk, higher-odds move here is holding off on stepping into Microsoft stock.

There are a couple of reasons this is the case, the first of which is just a reminder of what happened the last time the company reported…

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