Microsoft’s Ballmer Drops a Bombshell, Pandora Slides Further, and 3 More Hot Stocks

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT): Microsoft shares are up over 6 percent on the news that CEO Steve Ballmer will be stepping down within 12 months, a slight bump up from his 2017-2018 timeframe. A special committee — including Bill Gates — has been put together to determine a successor; Ballmer will remain in place until one is found. News of Ballmer’s departure has added $24 billion to the software giant’s market cap.

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Pandora Media (NYSE:P): Even a favorable quarterly report couldn’t help salvage Pandora’s shares, now down over 11 percent. The company reported mixed guidance, and its decision to remove its mobile listening cap could be fueling the selloff; a round of downgrades hasn’t helped. An improved monetization strategy resulted in content acquisition cost growth, up 35 percent to $81.8 million. Listener hours totaled 3.88 billion for the period, which is up year over year though down quarter over quarter.

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Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE): Shares of Expedia are up over 5 percent on news that the company has reached an accord with Travelocity to “power the technology platforms” for Travelocity’s U.S. and Canadian sites as well as to provide its travel inventory and handle customer services. The deal is expected to go online next year. Travelocity will be paid affiliate marketing fees for Expedia bookings made through its sites, and Expedia could have the right to buy certain Travelocity assets down the line.

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Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX): Chevron has gotten permission from a U.S. judge to subpoena information from the email accounts of the plaintiffs’ lawyers and their contacts as the company could be looking at a $19 billion damage award related to an Ecuadorean environmental suit. Chevron claims that Steven Donziger, the lead U.S. legal adviser for the Ecuador plaintiffs, improperly influenced a court expert in Ecuador and committed fraud to win the judgment.

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RetailMeNot Inc. (NASDAQ:SALE): Though earnings per share of 11 cents missed by 4 cents for the quarter, revenue of $43.4 million beat by $1.18 million, growing 44 percent year over year while mobile revenue grew 272 percent to $5 million. International revenue was 20 percent of total sales at $8.6 million as visits grew 19 percent to 121.5 million.

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