Microsoft Rises Despite Downgrade

Update (4:40 p.m. EST): Updated with closing price, day high and low prices, price change and volume information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Microsoft (MSFT) rose 2.29% to $35.78, up 80 cents from its previous close of $34.98, at the close of the trading day on Tuesday despite Citigroup's downgrade of the stock to neutral from buy.

The stock had a volume of 41,538,404, just above its average of 40,892,700. It hit a high of $35.88 and a low of $34.63 for the day. 

Citigroup, which held its target price for Microsoft at $35, reasoned that an insider taking over as CEO would drive shares lower, but an outsider would help the stock recover. But Citigroup stated that an outsider still may not make changes as quickly as some investors would like, which would move the stock lower.

Some names that Microsoft is reportedly considering for the position are former Microsoft executive and GoPivotal CEO Paul Maritz, former Microsoft Office leader and former Nokia (NOK) chief Stephen Elop, former Skype CEO and current Microsoft executive Tony Bates, and Satya Nadella, who has earned praise for making Microsoft's back-office software more Web compatible. Reports also are saying Miccrosoft's focus has shifted primarily to internal candidates.

Microsoft may have risen Tuesday because GameStop  (GME) informed investors Tuesday of a larger-than-expected decline in sales in the fourth quarter for Sony (SNE) PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 games. But that decline also came with a 99.8% increase in new hardware sales, driven by the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.

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