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MS stock up despite caution

Microsoft's stock traded higher even after company efforts to temper fiscal expectations.

SEATTLE--Microsoft's stock traded higher today even after efforts by its chief sales executive, Steve Ballmer, to temper expectations about the company's prospects in the new fiscal year.

The stock was trading at 120-5/8 at 4 p.m. Eastern time, up 2-3/4 points from its Wednesday close. The stock opened unchanged at 117-7/8.

Despite Ballmer's relatively pessimistic view of the year ahead, outlined to Wall Street representatives at the company's annual analyst day Wednesday, the more upbeat words of Chairman Bill Gates prevailed. Microsoft also outlined plans to release 13 new business software upgrades or products by year's end in its Office 997 suite.

Gates also predicted that Microsoft would expand its browser market share to as much as 40 percent with Internet Explorer. Rival Netscape Communications controls more than 70 percent of the market now with its Navigator browser.

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