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Microsoft Rally Lifts Nasdaq, Tech ETFs as CEO Ballmer to Retire


The Nasdaq-100 PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) opened higher Friday as key holding Microsoft (MSFT) rallied following an announcement that Chief Executive Steve Ballmer plans to retire within a year.

MSFT shares were up more than 7% on the news. The stock is the second-largest holding in QQQ at 7.8% of the portfolio. Apple (AAPL) is the ETF’s largest stock at 13.5% of the fund.

QQQ was higher in morning trade, one day after a trading glitch halted the tech-heavy ETF and thousands of stocks at the Nasdaq for over three hours. [‘Flash Freeze’ Halts Trading in QQQ and Nasdaq ETFs]

MSFT is also a top stock holding at other tech ETFs such is iShares US Technology (IYW) and Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK).

Ballmer will continue as Microsoft CEO until a successor is found. Chairman Bill Gates will be involved in the search, the company said.

“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”

PowerShares QQQ

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own QQQ, AAPL and MSFT.

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