Dow Futures Leap as Microsoft Rushes to Find a New CEO

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

According to stock index futures as of 8 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) will open significantly higher this morning, rising by 108 points at the opening bell. Global markets rallied overnight on the prospect that U.S. lawmakers could find a way out of their budget standoff today, as leaders are set to come together for talks this afternoon.

With that bigger picture in mind, here are a few individual stock stories to watch for in today's market.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is in a hurry to find a new leader. The software giant's board of directors is working on getting Steve Ballmer's replacement settled by the end of the year, according to Bloomberg. The board has already spoken with potential successors, including Ford CEO Alan Mulally and former Nokia chief Stephen Elop. eBay CEO John Donahoe was also approached, but he reportedly took himself out of contention. Microsoft is in the middle of a huge strategic shift, which makes its succession plans critical information for prospective investors. The stock is up 0.8% in premarket trading.

McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) has a new head of its German operations. Reuters reports that the division's chief operating officer will take over for the current CEO at the end of next month. Germany is a huge market for McDonald's, but the business has struggled lately. In August, poor results out of Germany held back comparable-sales growth in Mickey D's European region. McDonald's stock is up 0.8% in premarket trading.

Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) wants more of its own shares. The radio broadcaster announced plans this morning to add $2 billion to its stock repurchase budget. Sirius also came to an agreement to buy an additional $500 million of its stock from Liberty Media over the next several months. Sirius shares are up 3.1% in premarket trading.

Finally, Teva (NYSE: TEVA  ) could see active trading today after it announced plans to speed up cost-cutting by quickly eliminating 5,000 jobs. Teva will reduce its workforce by 10% by the end of next year. The pharmaceutical company says the new timetable for cuts means it will save $2 billion by the end of 2017, rather than the $1.5 billion to $2 billion it had previously estimated. Teva shares are up 2.2% in premarket trading.

Can Microsoft Still Win?
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