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U.S. stocks hovered between small gains and losses in afternoon trading Monday as investors waded through a mixed bag of corporate and geopolitical news. Traders were encouraged by the latest batch of corporate mergers. Energy stocks rose the most.
By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp on Monday reported a fall in its quarterly profit that was in line with Wall Street forecasts, as sluggish personal computer sales dampened demand for Windows software and the company struggled with the impact of the strong U.S. dollar. "While currency is a headwind for Microsoft and other large international companies, we would characterize the headline numbers as good enough, although some bulls may have been hoping for a bigger beat," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. Microsoft's flagship Windows business has been under pressure for three years as PC sales have declined, although the market appears to be stabilizing in recent months. Currency shifts against the strong U.S. dollar also crimped profit in the fiscal second quarter, ended Dec. 31, although Microsoft did not specify by how much.