Stocks to Watch: Microsoft, Goldman, General Mills

NEW YORK -- Microsoft ( MSFT) announced plans Tuesday for a 15% dividend hike.

The software giant said its board approved a quarterly dividend of 23 cents a share, up from its current payout of 20 cents. The new dividend implies a forward annual yield of 2.95% based on the stock's closing price of $31.17 on Tuesday.

Microsoft Raises Dividend

Goldman Sachs ( GS) said David Viniar plans to retire as chief financial officer in January 2013.

Viniar, who will join Goldman's board, is to be succeeded by Harvey Schwartz, the current co-head of the company's security division.

Viniar has spent more than three decades at the investment bank.

Goldman Sachs Replaces 'Brains' With Trader for CFO

Apple ( AAPL) shares crested above $700 in regular-session trading for the first time on Tuesday, following through on the strength seen in Monday's after-hours action.

Shares of the iPod and iPad maker finished at $701.91, up 0.3%.

General Mills ( GIS), the maker of Cheerios, is expected by analysts to report fiscal first-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share on revenue of $4.08 billion.

Bed, Bath & Beyond ( BBBY) is expected Wednesday to report its fiscal second-quarter results after the closing bell and analysts expect a profit of $1.02 a share in the August-ended period on revenue of $2.54 billion.

Other companies reporting their results Wednesday include Adobe Systems ( ADBE), AutoZone ( AZO), Cracker Barrel ( CBRL), Steelcase ( SCS), and Sycamore Networks ( SCMR).

Blackstone Group ( BX)is nearing an agreement to buy home security provider Vivint, according to three people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported.

The deal is expected to value Vivint at as much as $2 billion, according to Reuters.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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