Nokia’s Elop Is Frontrunner in Microsoft CEO Stakes and 2 Other Hot Stocks to Watch

Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK): Current price $5.47

Some analysts are putting Nokia CEO Stephen Elop forward as their top candidate to run Microsoft, which on Monday announced a $7.2 billion buyout of Nokia’s devices arm. This came 10 days after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s own revelation that he will retire within the next 12 months. Analyst Michael Turits at Raymond James said to Bloomberg that “Elop’s been viewed as a front-runner” even before the acquisition.

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Astex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX): Current price $8.48

The drug developer announced Thursday that it will sell itself to Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. for roughly $804.1 million in cash, representing a share price of $8.50 apiece. The price marks a 3 percent premium over Astex’s Wednesday close of $8.27. The stock popped Wednesday on chatter of a likely deal — it had been moving up for several weeks after Astex reported positive developments in trials for its treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. The stock is up 2.5 percent Thursday in heavy volume.

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Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC): Current price $14.47

U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel in Boston ruled that a lawsuit claiming Bank of America reneged on pledges to help distressed homeowners modify their mortgage loans and allegedly pushed them into foreclosure instead may not proceed as a class action filing. Zobel said the borrowers’ claims may have merit, but that there are so many individual factual matters that they “cannot sensibly be adjudicated” together on a class-wide basis. The judge made his decision Wednesday.

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