Aug. 7 - Summary: Tesla beat sales forecast, turns surprise profit; Groupon revenues better; S&P 500 suffers first 3-day slide since June; Time Warner lifted by ''Man of Steel''; AOL jumps into web video ad market. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Stocks slide for a third day in a row as investors fail to shake fears the Federal Reserve is close to slowing bond purchases. Looking at the numbers, this is actually the first time the S&P 500 has been down three-days straight in about two months. Positive surprises after the close. Sales at electronic car company Tesla coming in ahead of Wall Street targets, leading to a profit excluding items versus an expected quarterly loss. And Groupon's mobile strategy is paying off - sales exceeded the consensus in the first full quarter since ousting the company's founder. Ahead of that, Time Warner beat sales and profit forecasts, and raised its outlook for the year. "Man of Steel", one of only a few blockbuster hits this summer, helped the company's fortunes. That comes one-day after Walt Disney warned it could lose up to $190 million on "The Lone Ranger". Time Warner gave up early gains and Dow component Disney finished lower as well. Quarterly revenue subscriptions at AOL were down but total sales and profits managed to top expectations. Meanwhile, AOL is buying ADAP.TV for $405 million, looking to boost exposure to the emerging online video advertising buying market. Michael Learmonth of Ad Age: SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL LEARMONTH, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, ADVERTISING AGE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The ad tech world is very cluttered. There's a lot of names in it. Everyone knows AOL, so AOL is betting that brands would feel a bit more comfortable kind of just committing dollars to them in advance than finding you know dozens of little points solutions maybe that they would cobble together to do their own plan." On the economic front, mortgage applications rose last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, even though home-lending rates were up too. In Europe, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney plans to keep interest rates at record lows until the jobless rate drops to 7 percent. Investors didn't seem to find comfort in his forecast; stocks fell in Germany and the U.K., but rose slightly in France.