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Hot or Not? Microsoft
Mister Softee's stock is finally starting to show some signs of life. Will the momentum continue?
July 20, 2004: 5:56 PM EDT
By Paul R. La Monica, CNN/Money senior writer

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Will Microsoft's surprise news late Tuesday afternoon do the trick?

For nearly two and a half years now, investors have been waiting for Microsoft to turn up the heat. The last time Microsoft's stock closed above $30 was way back in March 2002.

What's got investors so down? Let us count the ways. The increasing popularity of Linux, an explosion of computer viruses targeting Windows users, lingering antitrust concerns and continued delays in the launch of its new operating system Longhorn (will it come out in 2006 or 2007?) have all weighed on the stock.

But on Tuesday Microsoft came through with news that it would double its cash dividend and begin a massive $30 billion buyback plan. The Street wasn't expecting Microsoft to announce what it would do with its $56 billion cash hoard until its slated earnings announcement on Thursday.

Can Mister Softee parlay the initial excitement -- Microsoft shares were up nearly 3 percent after hours Tuesday -- into a solid bounce over the $30 mark? Find out what we think in this week's Hot or Not? »»

Will Tuesday's surprise announcement lead to a sustained rally for Microsoft shares?

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