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What's happening with MSFT: At this year's annual CES in Las Vegas there will one company notably absent from the proceedings: Microsoft (MSFT). For the past 14 years, either Bill Gates, or Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's current CEO has delivered the opening keynote, but this year Microsoft will be absent from the entire event. With Windows 8's recent launch, it would seem as though this would not be a year for Microsoft to sit out the widely watched event, but it has decided to do just that, stating that the conference does not fit into its product release schedule. Windows 8 has so far enjoyed a less than stellar launch, and Microsoft stock has traded down 6.4% since the end of September. Despite Microsoft's absence from the show, Windows 8's presence will still be felt at the show, with a wide range of developers showing off new software to go with the new operating system.

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What's happening with AA: Alcoa is coming off a relatively flat three months, with the stock up just 1.8% since the end of September, and in the red during much of that period until a large gain on the fiscal cliff deal. The stock has been hampered by fear that President Obama and Congress would fail to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. The company is due to report its fourth quarter results on January 8, with analysts expecting to see the company show earnings of $0.07, versus a loss of $0.03 during the same period last year. All eyes will be focused on Alcoa's earnings report, as the stock is seen as a bellwether for the overall economy.

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What's happening with CAT: The fear of the nation going over the fiscal cliff weighed heavily on some industries, and the construction equipment industry was one of them. Since the end of September, Caterpillar (CAT) stock has appreciated 10%, but the vast majority of that gain has come over the past week as anticipation grew that a deal would be reached on the fiscal cliff. Improved economic conditions in China are giving the stock a much-needed boost as of late. Since setting its 52-week high last February, CAT settled into a range between $80 and $85, but is testing the high side of that recently. The deal to avert the fiscal cliff raises enthusiasm towards the economy, and should boost construction spending in 2013.

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What's happening with GD: Half of the fiscal cliff debate involved the ending of the Bush-era tax cuts, but the other half involved automatic budget cuts that were set to kick in at the end of 2012. The scheduled budget cuts would have resulted in $55 billion in cuts by the Pentagon during the current fiscal year. The deal reached by politicians postponed these cuts, but it did not eliminate them. They were pushed back two months to allow further negotiations to take place along with the upcoming debate on the debt ceiling. This is better news for defense contractors in the near term than no deal, but it keeps a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the entire sector for at least another two months.

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What's happening with STZ: Constellation Brands (STZ) is coming off a fantastic 2012, a year in which the stock price increased 71%. A big reason why the stock was able to outperform the market by such a large margin is its low exposure in the weak European market. North American markets generate 77% of the company's sales, so European and Chinese weakness did have the level of impact on the stock as similar companies in its industry. The company will report its fiscal third quarter results on January 9, with analysts expecting to see earnings of $0.55 per share. During the same period last year the company had earnings of $0.50.

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