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Apple shares earned a slight bump in afternoon trading Thursday, following news of billionaire investor Carl Icahn's push for a buyback plan and the company's reported deal with China Mobile. By the closing bell, the shares were up $2.97, 0.5%, to $567.97. They were also modestly higher in after-hours trading.

Let's begin with China Mobile and its potential deal with Apple that would serve the company's iPhone to the wireless network's 700 million subscribers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the iPhone will be available through China Mobile starting next month. As the report points out, China Mobile's subscriber base is seven times the size of carrier Verizon Wireless.

Also, Carl Icahn has filed a proposal urging Apple to share more of its money with investors. Icahn has pushed Apple to buy back stocks since August, when he first tweeted of having a "large position" in Apple and an initial chat with CEO Tim Cook on a deal.

Meanwhile, shares of Microsoft slumped nearly 3% following a report that Ford CEO Alan Mulally is staying with the company. At the close, shares were down 94 cents, 2.4%, to $38. They were slightly higher in after-hours trading.

Mulally is among the potential candidates for the CEO job at Microsoft, after Steve Ballmer announced his retirement earlier this year. But according to Bloomberg, director Edsel Ford II said Mulally will stay with Ford through next year.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @bam923.

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