Investor Beat -- January 24, 2014

The top business stories from Friday's market for today's Foolish investor.

Jan 24, 2014 at 9:55PM

In this video from Friday's Investor Beat, host Chris Hill and Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio analyst Ron Gross separate the signal from the noise in the biggest investing stories from the market today.

Shares of Microsoft were up today despite the overall market seeing a lot of red, as the company announced its Q2 earnings, with  record revenue of $24.5 billion. Sales for both its Surface tablet and its Xbox One gaming console were strong, as were results from its cloud business and data center business. In today's lead story however, Ron discusses why he's cautious here at the moment, ahead of a yet unknown new CEO, and the difficult acquisition of Nokia, which has yet to integrate, as Microsoft continues to be a company in flux and transition.

Then in the next segment, shares of Procter & Gamble were up today, after the company reported what looked by all accounts to be very mediocre quarterly results. Sales were flat year over year, and profits actually fell by 16%. So why the market enthusiasm? In this segment, Ron discusses how Procter & Gamble benefited from the expectations game this quarter, and discusses the future of P&G and its stock. As a very mature company without a lot of growth ahead, Ron likes it as the ultimate stable dividend payer for income investors, but says it won't be one to bet on for those trying to beat the market.

And finally, Apple announces earnings on Monday and, in this segment, Ron discusses a number of things he'll be watching for from the company. Rumors came out this week of two new phones with larger screens set to be released later this year, and the company may also be rumored to be scrapping its iPhone 5c, which has had a weak reception with consumers. Ron says he'll also be watching to see what Apple's plans are for its cash hoard, as activist investor Carl Icahn continues to loudly call for large share buyback plans from the company. As far as the numbers are concerned, Ron says that, while the company used to be notorious for sandbagging its guidance, he now thinks that there will be no great surprises, and that it should come in right around expectations.

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Chris Hill has no position in any stocks mentioned. Ron Gross owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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