Radar Movers: Facebook Tops $40, Microsoft Surges 7% on Ballmer’s Retirement

Shares of Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) plunged 20 percent on Friday. The clothing retailer recently reported a quarterly loss of 34 cents per share, worse than the 24-cent loss expected by Wall Street. Thomas P. Johnson, chief executive officer, commented, “As previously reported, our second quarter results did not change materially from earlier in the year. Our business was pressured by a challenging teen retail environment with weak traffic trends and high levels of promotional activity. Our results were particularly disappointing given the level of change we have registered with the Aeropostale brand in recent periods.”

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares topped $40 on Friday for the first time since its initial debut on the Nasdaq. The social media giant received optimism from JPMorgan Chase. The bank noted “solid trends in overall engagement” among Facebook users, and believes mobile will continue to offset any weakness in desktop. JPMorgan Chase has a price target of $44 on Facebook.

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares continue to hang near $500. The company has reportedly purchased Embark, a developer of apps that provides public transit information and trip-planning tools for several major U.S. cities including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. No terms were revealed, though Apple did confirm that the purchase was made. Embark joins HopStop, a transit app developer that Apple also purchased last month.

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Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) surged more than 7 percent on Friday – easily the best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA). The company announced that Steve Ballmer, who has served as the company’s chief executive since 2000, will retire within the next 12 months. To understate it, the news is a big deal. Ballmer has worked for Microsoft since 1980 and was the company’s 30th hire. He led the company through both the dot-com crash and the late-2000s financial crisis, a period over which annual revenues increased from $25 billion to $77 billion. A special committee that includes Bill Gates has 12 months to pick someone — the markets seem to think that whoever it is will be able to do what Ballmer couldn’t: revitalize the company.

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