Roundup: Microsoft shares tumble after weak 4th-qtr results; Venture investments drop in 2Q, report finds; more

| Saturday, July 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Microsoft shares tumble on weak Q4 earnings report

Microsoft stock took a big hit on Friday, after the software giant behind Windows, the Xbox and Surface tablets reported disappointing results for the latest quarter. The results, which fell below Wall Street's expectations, included a large write-off for Microsoft Corp.'s Surface RT business. A poor reception for Windows 8 contributed to a revenue drop in the company's operating system software unit. Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft's shares fell $4.04, or 11.4 percent, to $31.40 Friday. Year to date, Microsoft's shares are up about 18 percent.

GE shares rise to post-crisis high

An improving outlook for the U.S. economy and signs of stabilization in Europe sent General Electric shares to their highest level since 2008 despite modest quarterly results. “Orders in the U.S. were the strongest in some time,” CEO Jeff Immelt said on a conference call with investors following the release of the company's second-quarter results on Friday. Immelt said the U.S. economic environment remained “mixed,” but his outlook marked an improvement from recent quarters, when he expressed more caution about the U.S. market. GE, based in Fairfield, Conn., has a broad view of the global economy because it sells a wide variety of industrial equipment and appliances around the world; including jet engines, medical diagnostic equipment, oil- and gas-drilling equipment and washing machines.

Report: Venture investments drop in 2Q

A new report says funding for U.S. startups declined in the April-June period from a year ago, as venture capitalists funneled less money into fewer deals. Total investments in startups fell 9 percent to $6.67 billion from $7.34 billion a year ago. There were 913 deals completed in the second quarter, down 6 percent from last year's 970. Funding for biotechnology companies and consumer products and services startups increased. The biggest category, software, saw a decline in the dollar amount invested as well as the number of deals completed.

PPG Industries gets new CFO

PPG Industries Inc. said Frank S. Sklarsky will become chief financial officer on Aug. 1, succeeding David B. Navikas, who will become senior vice president of strategic planning and corporate development. Both will continue to serve on PPG's executive and operating committees. Sklarsky joined PPG on April 15, and most recently was chief financial officer of Tyco International Ltd. Prior to Tyco, Sklarsky served as chief financial officer at both Eastman Kodak Co. and ConAgra Foods Inc. and previously spent 20 years with Chrysler in a series of senior financial leadership roles.

Other business news

A Highmark vision store inside its Fifth Avenue Place headquarters Downtown was renamed Visionworks and moved to a larger space on the first floor of the building on Friday. Highmark, which owns the state's largest health insurer and Pittsburgh's second largest hospital network, said its vision subsidiary, HVHC Inc., is rebranding all its stores across the country.

— Staff and wire reports

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