Aug. 13 - Summary of business headlines: S&P 500 ends longest rally in year and a half; Groupon sales disappoint, accounting cloud hovers; FedEx to seek voluntary layoffs; Google cuts Motorola jobs, buys Frommer's. Conway G. Gittens reports.
A slowing economy in the East - causing jitters in the West - as near-zero growth in Japan adds to Wall Street's concerns. Trading volumes are light but the S&P 500 ends its longest winning streak since December 2010. With a Federal Reserve poised to act, Michael Woolfolk of Bank of New York Mellon sees an upward bias for the stock market. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL WOOLFOLK, SENIOR CURRENCY STRATEGIST, BANK OF NY MELLLON (ENGLISH) SAYING: "As we see we are coming into the tail end of the summer and we've not had the big sell-off, the crisis that many had expected. So I think we have a rally going into the post labor day period, which is good for equities, perhaps negative for the dollar." After the bell, Groupon beat earnings estimates but revenues at just over $568 million did not live up to expectations as the daily deals website tries to expand beyond its partnerships. Groupon's revenue outlook for the current quarter is towards the low-end of forecasts. FedEx added to worries. The express delivery company is preparing for voluntary layoffs as it suffers from a drop in deliveries, while at the same time customers are switching to cheaper options. FedEx would not detail the number of jobs it hopes to cut. Speaking of job cuts - Google is letting go of 4,000 employees from Motorola Mobility, the cellphone company it bought last year. Motorola Mobility has lost money in fourteen of the last sixteen quarters. Meanwhile, the Internet and technology giant is boosting its content offerings. Google is buying the Frommer's travel guidebooks for an undisclosed amount. This follows up Google's purchase of restaurant guide Zagat last year. With Google moving in on its home turf shares of online travel review Trip Advisor fell 4-1/2 percent. In European action - investors looking for direction sat on their hands leaving the market to drift lower. Conway Gittens, Reuters