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Los Angelas, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/22/2013 -- Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is moving to battle Apple on its own turf, with an integrated ecosystem of hardware and software products. This is a major strategic change for this stagnating company. Microsoft may dominate the software space but with the PC market in decline, the company appears to have awakened from its long and peaceful slumber.Microsoft trails far behind Apple. The first generation of Windows-based smartphones failed to catch on and its first entry into the tablet market, the Surface, has had a less than impressive start. Windows 8 was to be the software platform that tied together the PC, the Surface Tablet, and the latest Nokia (NOK) smartphones.The recent Consumer Electronics Show highlighted the two major concerns now evident with Windows 8. First, users feel the "learning curve" is steep. Second, the tile-based user interface is more appropriate for touch screen computers.
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Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) is another leading PC manufacturer scrambling for sources of revenue growth. The company has gone on a costly shopping spree for businesses that will allow Dell to better compete in the enterprise sector. Dell's stock price year over year is down almost 21%. On Monday January 14, 2013, the stock was trading around $10.90 a share when news leaked that the company might go private. The share price rallied about 20% over the next few days. Current shareholders of Dell face a dilemma. CNN Money cites a Fortune report the initial deal involving TPG Capital and Silver Lake Resources has seen TPG withdraw, leaving only Silver Lake. If the deal falls through, the share price will likely take a big hit.
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Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASNA) Ascena Retail Group has witnessed sharp downward estimate revisions after reporting disappointing holiday comparable store sales results and a lowered fiscal 2013 outlook. Shares of this women’s apparel retailer have been on a downtrend since Sep 21, 2012 and given its expected negative earnings growth rate in the upcoming quarter, it has more downside left. On Jan 10, Ascena Retail Group reported comparable store sales results for the combined months of November and December, otherwise referred to as the holiday sales season. Total comparable store sales of the company in the holiday period ended Dec 29, 2012, declined 2%, driven by lower-than-expected holiday sales. However, including e-Commerce comps growth of 30%, the company’s comps increased 1% for the two-month holiday period.
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Emerging Markets Index (NYSE:EEM), This fund has stocks from different countries and therefore is not a country-specific fund. It has a 52-week high of $45.33 per share and closed on Friday January 18, 2013 at $44.78. Its profile states that it tries to match the performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. With $48.19 billion of net assets, it is the largest fund out of the five highlighted here. It has a current yield of 1.71% and an annual expense ratio of .68%.
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