Noon Buzz: Microsoft’s Surface Tablet, J.C. Penney Plummets 10%

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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares gained 3.5 percent in today’s trading. Late Monday, the company unveiled its own tablet PC called Surface. It comes with a 10.6-inch screen, compared to the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. One of the most notable features from Microsoft’s tablet is the built-in kickstand and magnetic cover. On the inside cover, users will also find a full keyboard with pressure-sensitive keys. “The Surface is a PC, the Surface is a tablet and the Surface is something new that we think people will really love,” claimed Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer.

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FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) shares climbed 3.38 percent in noon trading. The company announced that income for the fourth-quarter fell to $550 million ($1.73 per share), compared to $558 million ($1.75 per share) a year earlier. “FedEx delivered strong earnings results for fiscal 2012 due to the outstanding performance by FedEx Ground, our new value proposition at FedEx Freight and improved yields across all transportation segments,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “In fiscal 2013, we will continue our focus on improving our operating efficiencies and our financial performance across all of our businesses, while simultaneously enhancing our service capabilities. We remain absolutely committed to higher earnings, margins, cash flows and returns.”

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J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE:JCP) shares plunged 10 percent in afternoon trading. The department store operator unexpectedly announced that President Michael Francis is leaving, effective Monday. No reason was given and Francis had only been with JCP since October, near the time when former Apple executive Ron Johnson also joined the company. Both had previously worked together at Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT).

Shares of Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) fell 6 percent by noon trading. The largest drugstore chain in the United States agreed to pay $6.7 billion for a 45 percent stake in Alliance Boots. The company also reported that fiscal third-quarter earnings decreased 11 percent, due to falling sales from the loss of Express Scripts Holding Co.’s (NASDAQ:ESRX) members.

Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ:ORCL) shares jumped 2.8 percent as of this afternoon. The company said late Monday that it earned 82 cents per share for the fiscal fourth-quarter, excluding one-time items. Analysts were expecting earnings per share of about 78 cents. The results were announced three days earlier than expected. “Our record-breaking fourth quarter featured several all-time highs for Oracle: new software license sales of $4 billion, total software revenue of $8 billion, total revenue of $11 billion, and EPS of 82 cents,” said Oracle President and CFO, Safra Catz. “For the fiscal year, we also set all-time highs for operating margins of 46 percent, and operating cash flow of $13.7 billion.”

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