MARKET PULSE-Microsoft, J.C. Penney, China Sunergy, Electronic Arts
(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks edged lower on Thursday after a round of mixed economic data left traders guessing how soon the Federal Reserve would begin to wind down an asset-purchase program that has helped equities rally. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.31 percent at 15,839.74, the S&P 500 was down 0.35 percent at 1,786.61 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.11 percent at 4,033.381.
** MICROSOFT CORP, $37.825, -2.86 pct
Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Alan Mulally, who was seen as a top contender to replace Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, told Bloomberg TV that he "loved serving Ford and there is no change in the plan."
Ford Director Edsel Ford II told Bloomberg that Mulally would stay at the automaker through 2014. (link.reuters.com/paz25v)
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, $8.86, -8.28 pct
Hedge fund firm Hayman Capital Management's J. Kyle Bass sold his stake in the struggling retailer, according to Bloomberg. (link.reuters.com/qaz25v)
Hayman Capital had disclosed a 5.2 percent stake in the retailer in September, but reported in November that it had reduced that to about 1.87 percent.
Earlier this week, J.C. Penney said its comparable-store sales rose in November for the second straight month. Continued...