Rambus, Groupon Surge as Dow Falls

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has fallen 30 points as of 11:30 a.m. EST. Tech giant and Dow component Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) undperformed the index, while smaller tech names Rambus (NASDAQ: RMBS  ) and Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN  )  surged higher.

Wholesale inventories beats expectations
There weren't many major economic releases on Tuesday, which may be why the market was little changed. But one economic measurement -- wholesale inventories -- came in higher than expected.

The Commerce Department report, which measures the change in inventory held by wholesalers, came in up 1.4%. Economists been anticipated a gain of just 0.3%. The measure isn't considered very important, but a gain suggests wholesalers are stocking up on inventory.

Microsoft falls as CEO search continues
Dow component Microsoft dropped more than 1% early on Tuesday. Despite the company's monstorous size, daily shifts of more than 1% have become somewhat common as of late.

Speculation continues as to who will become Microsoft's next CEO. Ford's Alan Mulally was widely expected to take over from Steve Ballmer, but seems poised now to remain with the Blue Oval. That leaves Satya Nadella, the head of Microsoft's cloud business, as the front-runner. In an interview with Bloomberg, Nadella said he would stay at Microsoft even if he doesn't get the job.

Rambus shares surge on settlement
In contrast to Microsoft, shares of Rambus exploded to the upside on Tuesday, gaining nearly 20% at 11:30 a.m. EST. The catalyst for the move higher seems to be the company's deal with Micron Technology.

Rambus has been criticized as being a "patent troll" -- a company that derives its value from suing others. One of those lawsuits was against fellow chip maker Micron, which settled with Rambus early on Tuesday. As part of the deal, Rambus will receive cash payments worth up to $280 million under the initial term of the agreement. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase liked the announcement, and reiterated their overweight rating on the stock.

Groupon continues higher
Groupon shares added another 4.6% early on Tuesday, continuing a trend that's seen the deal provider rally more than 10% in just the last three days. Longtime Groupon shareholders should, at this point, be used to such volatility.

There didn't seem to be any specific news affecting the stock on Tuesday, but investors may have been generally positive about the company going into the holiday shopping season. In just the last year, Groupon has really stepped up its focus on its goods business, selling tons of items at a steep discount. Last week, Groupon announced a record Black Friday weekend, suggesting that the company's new goods focus is working. 

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