Microsoft Could Boost Dividend, GE Buys into XD Electric, and 3 More Hot Stocks

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): Bloomberg is projecting that Microsoft will up its dividend by 13 percent, to 26 cents, based on the software company’s ability to pay and the payout implied in the options market. The current consensus forecast is for the quarterly dividend to be hiked 2 cents to 25 cents. “The company needs to balance the need to keep payouts somewhat inline with increases in operating income (so as not to incur tax on cash held overseas),” Seeking Alpha says, “but not so low as to draw the ire of activist investors like ValueAct.”

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General Electric (NYSE:GE): GE has bought itself a 15 percent stake in China’s XD Electric Group for $552.2 million in a partnership that could double the sales of power transmission products in the digital energy business to $4 billion or so over the next decade. China XD produces high-voltage transformers, circuit breakers and capacitors, and the two companies plan to form a joint venture together to sell grid automation equipment in China.

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Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU): Alcatel will be appointing Jean Raby, formerly of Goldman Sachs, as its chief financial and legal officer, effective Sunday. Raby’s appointment will bump out Paul Tufano, whose exit from Alcatel was announced in June as a part of the company’s Shift Plan.

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BP (NYSE:BP): BP’s latest request for an injunction to halt payments from its multibillion-dollar Gulf oil spill settlement was denied by a federal judge as an internal probe by the claims administrator’s office was unable to turn up credible evidence of fraud involving employees of the settlement program’s claims center in Alabama.

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Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ): Trian Management’s Nelson Peltz seems to have ruffled a few feathers at Mondelez, and instead of submitting to his pushes for change at the company, CEO Irene Rosenfeld took the issue directly to the company’s shareholders. An investor slideshow offers “a vigorous and thorough defense of the work Rosenfeld has done at both Kraft Foods (NASDAQ:KRFT) and Mondelez,” dealReporter notes, adding, “specifically, it highlights the fact that Kraft was struggling back in 2006 but a successful turnaround plan led to superior performance between the years of 2010 and 2012.”

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Don’t Miss: Here’s Why Microsoft Employees Are Very, Very Worried.