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Pre-Market: Qualcomm Promotes Internally Among Rumors Microsoft Was Recruiting COO


A little known former engineer just had a huge day.

Stocks are set to rebound today, but all of the major indices are likely to end the week lower as worries about the Fed's stimulus dominates the mood on Wall Street.

The Federal Reserve might respond to the steadily improving labor market by cutting back on quantitative easing. One piece of the economic data that could convince the central bank to hold off was today's report that producer prices fell 0.1% last month. Inflation is still at bay.

Before the opening bell today, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.25% at 15,721.00. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.40% to 1,775.60. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed 0.43% to 3,469.75.

Bloomberg reported today that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is considering Qualcomm Inc (NASDAQ:QCOM) COO Steve Mollenkopf to replace Steve Ballmer. Ford (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally is still in consideration despite his statement that he is committed to his current company and has a lack of tech experience. Microsoft's cloud boss Satya Nadella is also on the short list. Mollenkopf, a former engineer, heads Qualcomm's division that makes chips for mobile phones. His hardware expertise could help smooth Microsoft's transition to Ballmer's idea of a "device and services" company. Less than a day after the news of Microsoft's potential recruitment, Qualcomm said today that Mollenkopf will be promoted to the role of CEO starting in March.

Also in the hot world of semiconductors, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is also considering building its own chips. Another Bloomberg report said that Google might design its own server processors, based on designs by ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH). Such a move could hurt Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), since Google is Intel's fifth-largest customer, contributing 4.3% of the latter company's revenue. Intel shares dropped 1.5% in pre-market trading.

A US court ruled that Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC) could be on the hook for $5 billion to $14.2 billion in environmental and legal liabilities that it inherited from its acquisition of Ker-McGee Corp in 2006. Analysts predicted that Anadarko's liability would be $3 billion at most. Anadarko shares dropped 11% on the news.

Shares in Europe and Asia were also higher this morning. Today, Ireland became the first embattled eurozone country to exit its bailout program, but the country's leaders say that they will continue austerity policies.

The House of Representatives easily passed the bipartisan budget deal brokered by reps Patty Murphy and Paul Ryan. House Speaker John Boehner lambasted conservative groups yesterday for opposing a bill that he called a step in the right direction.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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