The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up more than 96 points as of 11:30 a.m. EST. Dow Jones component Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), however, was moving to the downside, after a new report claimed the company could be on the verge of naming its next CEO. Meanwhile, other tech companies, notably Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Pandora (NYSE:P), were surging to the upside.
U.S. economy posts solid growth
The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the U.S. economy grew 3.2% last quarter, exactly as economists expected. The figure is a preliminary reading that will be revised in the coming weeks, but this suggests the economy is expanding in line with expectations.
The Dow Jones' move on Thursday may have simply been the byproduct of excessive recent selling -- stocks hammered in past sessions bounced back. But a growing economy is an obvious positive for U.S. equities.
Microsoft's next CEO could be named next week
According to Re/code, Microsoft could name its next CEO within a week. The popular pick is, at this point, Satya Nadella, the head of the company's enterprise effort.
Nadella's specialty is working with businesses and the cloud; as Microsoft transitions into a services company centered around new cloud products like Azure, Nadella appears to be a good fit -- indeed, his name has been floating around since the search began. But he is an insider, and investors could question his ability to make the sweeping changes necessary to transform Microsoft.
Facebook surges after greater earnings report
As Microsoft was a posting a modest 0.34% drop, Facebook shares were having an incredible session, up more than 16% early on Thursday.
The rally follows an impressive earnings report in which Facebook beat expectations for both revenue and profit. Facebook remains optimistic for the future, aiming to increase its ad pricing and to target mobile users with a slate of new apps.
Pandora gets a boost from Goldman
Pandora shares were also surging more than 14% on Thursday after a Goldman Sachs analyst praised the company. Specifically, Goldman Sachs said Pandora shares could literally double within the next year, assuming the company can execute on its local ad strategy. Goldman is looking for the company to double its average ad total, increase the proportion of its local ads to 50%, and leverage its fixed costs.
That's a fairly aggressive call on the company, but Pandora has been a volatile stock over the last year, more than doubling already since early 2013.