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Pre-Market: Tesla Struggles to Meet Demand; Samsung Considers US Listing


Microsoft is narrowing its search for its next CEO.

With little data on the economic calendar, stock futures are higher today as investors await the arrival of Twitter on public markets.

Futures are heading higher after Tuesday's mixed trading day. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.44% at 15,619.00 while futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.51% to 1,765.50. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed 0.43% to 3,394.25.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares fell 11% since reporting better-than-expected earnings. Its quarterly loss narrowed to $38 million from $111 million a year ago while revenue climbed to $431 million from $50 million. Tesla sold 5,500 Model S units to customers, which disappointed some analysts. The detail that investors are taking issue with is that Tesla is having trouble meeting growing demand. "We really are production-constrained, not demand-constrained," said CEO Elon Musk.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is likely to debut tomorrow on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:NYX). It is expected to price its IPO today at $23 to $25 per share with a float of 70 million shares, giving it a market capitalization of at least $12.5 billion.

Reuters reported last night that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is narrowing its search for a replacement for Steve Ballmer. Ford (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally is still on the list, as is Stephen Elop, the former head of Nokia who Microsoft acqui-hired back. Big investors also favor Computer Sciences Corp (NYSE:CSC) CEO Mike Lawrie for his track record as a turnaround expert. Ballmer's "device and services" strategy might be abandoned by the incoming leader.

Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) held its first analyst meeting in eight years yesterday. The company said that it intends to raise its dividend to 1% of the share price for 2013, payable next year.

"Our management feels that our current price-to-earnings multiple does not fully reflect our profit growth and our leadership position in the I.T. industry," said CFO Lee Sang-hoon. "Going forward, we will put more emphasis on direct shareholder returns while maintaining our strategy of growth."

Samsung is also considering listing an American depositary receipt (ADR) which would make it much easier for US investors to bet on the company.

Toyota (NYSE:TM) saw profits surge 70% in the past quarter thanks to the weaker yen and cost-cutting. Vehicle sales for the first nine months of the year were 7.4 million, outpacing General Motors (NYSE:GM) as the top-selling automaker. Toyota expects to sell 9.1 million cars for the fiscal year ending in March.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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