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Pre-Market Primer: Stocks Up Amidst Tech and Fast Food Earnings

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The shift to mobile hits Google, Microsoft, and Dell.

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After yesterday's sell-off, stocks are set to rise as investors process corporate earnings and an uptick in jobless claims.

Before the opening bell, futures were higher. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.53% at 14,487 and S&P (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.66% to 1,544.20. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures advanced 0.67% to 2,757.75 as major tech companies in the index reported earnings.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares rose 1.8% in pre-market trading after reporting mixed results for the past quarter. The company handily beat earnings estimates with $11.58 per share, buoyed by strength in the core advertising business. Revenue was up 31% over last year, but the cost per ad click, a measure of its cost of sales, declined by 4%. The reason is that mobile ads are not as profitable, and traditional desktop browsing is becoming less emphasized.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares are up 2.5% as profit of $6.06 billion, or $0.76 per share exceeded estimates. Revenue is up 18% at $20.5 billion. The company announced that Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein will step down this summer. Klein credited the "diversified business" for the strong results despite the free fall in PC sales. Microsoft is struggling to gain market share and derive a bigger percentage of sales from tablets. Windows 8 sales were weak as many enterprise customers chose Windows 7 instead. Microsoft said that the upcoming Windows Blue will address the parts of Windows 8 that customers found distasteful.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NASDAQ:CMG) shares rose 4.76% after reporting better than expected earnings and revenue. Earnings per share hit $2.45.

This morning, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) reported earnings that came in line with forecasts. Earnings per share was $1.26. Global sales dropped 1.0%, with the sharpest decline in the Middle East, Asian, and African locations.

Blackstone (NYSE:BX) withdrew its bid for Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), citing doubts over future of PC sales, Dell's bread and butter. This leaves Silver Lake Partners with its bid of $24.4 billion, or $13.65 per share.

Gold futures stabilized after falling sharply this week. One ounce now goes for $1409.20, up 1.16%.

A snap election in Italy is in the cards now that the center-left Democratic Party put its support behind former Prime Minister Romano Prodi for president. The country has been without a functioning government since the inconclusive February election.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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