Amazon HIRES Microsoft Exec, Merck Shines and 2 Dow Spotlight Stocks

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT): Windows Phone business development executive Robert Williams has been hired by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to be that company’s new director of its Appstore for Android. Amazon hired another Windows Phone executive five months earlier, and the hires contribute to rumors about a smartphone launch. Dell and H-P’s share losses are getting attention as the companies fight to cope with competition from Apple and Asian manufacturers (like Lenovo) proving price rivalry. Intel got a number of estimate cuts recently, and Microsoft got one Wednesday from Morgan Stanley.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) reduced its earnings estimates for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for this year and next, referencing worries that lower commodity prices and sluggish global growth will affect corporate profits.

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Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO): Bandwidth can get backed up if a number of devices share a network. For the latest Linksys routers, Cisco is fixing that with Connect Cloud, a platform that allows one to manage all connections from any place.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK): The New York Times reports that emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil will probably fuel global pharmaceutical spending in the coming five years, citing the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Leerink Swann describes the early success of Merck’s odnacatib osteoporosis med a “positive upside surprise” and predicts peak sales of $975M in 2020 with total worldwide sales potential of more than $3B. The firm also reiterates its Outperform rating on the company’s stock; Citigroup raised its rating from Neutral to Buy.

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