Microsoft’s Big Meeting, Facebook Gets a Boost from Cowen, and 3 More Hot Stocks

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT): For those hoping that Microsoft’s next CEO would be announced at Thursday’s annual analyst meeting, new CFO Amy Hood quelled those hopes right off the bat. ”There will be no update on [the CEO search] today,” she said. Regardless of who takes the helm, Microsoft will continue reporting the financial performance of five business segments, only it will look a lot different than its current five (Windows, Office, Server & Tools, Online Services, Entertainment & Devices). Three of the new segments will fall under “Devices & Consumer,” while two other segments fall under the “Commercial” flag.

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): Facebook has been upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by Cowen in the wake of a stock run that has seen shares swell some 73 percent since the social network’s second quarter report. The analyst believes strong ROI in the newsfeed is sustainable with increasing advertising demand meeting rising inventory and prices, and sees Instagram and Video as additional monetization opportunities that are not fully reflected in shares.

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Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA): A senior executive of Russia’s Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, says that 40 percent of global aluminum production is unsustainable at current prices — bad news for Alcoa, which has its third quarter results due early next month. Aluminum supply exceeded demand in the first seven months of this year by 773,000 metric tons while the surplus in all of 2012 was 506,000, Seeking Alpha says.

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JinkoSolar Holding Co. (NYSE:JKS): JinkSolar will now be selling 3.8 million shares, up from a prior 3.5 million, and underwriters have been given a 570,000-share overallotment option. The new offering should yield gross proceeds of $61.8 million or so, and increase the JinkoSolar’s diluted share count by about 17 percent.

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Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT): Caterpillar has released its dealership sales numbers for August, which fall among the lowest numbers for quite a while. North America was a small bright spot with a 1 percent gain, though Asia Pacific fell 30 percent, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East fell 12 percent, Latin America dropped 3 percent, and the rest of world fell 17 percent.

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