Microsoft Slips on Price Cuts

The Microsoft rumor mill has been an accurate one lately.

Microsoft stock has sold off in recent weeks on rumors of insider selling and pending price cuts.

Last Friday, the company announced heavy selling by CEO Steve Ballmer.

And today, Microsoft announced price cuts to Office XP and individual Office applications.

The thought of Microsoft – whose pricing power is singular among technology companies – cutting prices unnerved investors, who cut Microsoft’s share price by 2% on Wednesday.

The broader market managed modest gains despite a steeper than expected drop in Durable Orders.

The Nasdaq rose 6 to 1563, the S&P 500 added 1 to 953, and the Dow climbed 11 to 8793. Volume was unchanged at 1.51 billion shares on the NYSE, and rose to 2.1 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 19-13 on the NYSE, and 19-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 53% on the NYSE, and 58% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 320-7 on the NYSE, and 285-11 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Ask Jeeves fell on plans to sell its enterprise search unit. Tech Data fell on a warning. Agile rose after beating estimates.

During the day, Rambus , profiled in last night’s technical commentary as a possible breakout candidate, surged 6.8% after a shareholder lawsuit was dismissed.

RealNetworks soared 12% on plans to offer a cheaper pay music service. Apple fell 3% on the news.

Terra Lycos soared 18% on a takeover offer.

Oracle rose 4.8% on a Russian telecom deal.

eBay slipped 1.8% after losing a patent case.

Semtech fell 9% on a warning.

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