New York —  Microsoft  analysts expect strong third-quarter results from the company on Wednesday as its cloud-computing division continues to see rapid growth. The report could extend a rally that has lifted Microsoft shares more than 33% off a December low. Microsoft closed at a record on Tuesday and the company’s market capitalisation is within 4% of $1-trillion. Shares were down 0.3% ahead of the results on Wednesday. Analysts are expecting broad strength in the quarter, but sales of the company’s Azure cloud-computing product are likely the most highly anticipated number in the report. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives forecasts “a solid beat across the board on both the top and bottom line”, with cloud strength acting as “the fuel in the tank”. According to estimates compiled by Bloomberg, Azure is expected to grow more than 68% on a year-over-year basis. While this represents a slowdown from the 93% growth reported a year ago, the bigger scale underlines Microsoft’s central positio...

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