Stocks rallied on the back of a 7% surge in Microsoft.
First, the scoreboard:Dow: 15,010.5, +46.7, +0.3% S&P 500: 1,663.5, +6.5, +0.3% NASDAQ: 3,657.7, +19.0, +0.5%
And now, the top stories:Before the markets opened in the U.S., Microsoft announced that its long-time CEO Steve Ballmer would be retiring. “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. During Ballmer's tenure, Microsoft shares fell by around 40%. But it's worth noting that he took the reigns at the height of the dotcom bubble in January 2000. "Microsoft investors should not be that excited about Ballmer's departure," argues Business Insider's Jay Yarow. New home sales fell by 13.4% in July to an annualized rate of 394,000 units. This was much worse than the 487,000 pace expected by economists. "That softness is at odds with increased builder confidence and with households’ positive assessments of homebuying conditions," said UBS's Sam Coffin about the housing report. "It also seems out of line with mortgage purchase applications, whose recent softening appears to reflect seasonality. Home price measures certainly do not show soft demand. That said, this was an undeniably weak report and raises the possibility that higher mortgage rates are having a larger effect on sales than we anticipated." Don't Miss: Breathtaking Aerial Photos Of Australia's Resource-Rich Northern Territory »
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