by Marc Bastow | August 13, 2012 5:28 pm
After a stirring run in the market last week that took the three major indices to heights not seen since May, investors took a deep breath Monday morning and decided that with the Olympics over, it was time to worry about Europe once again.
Sigh. Greece’s economy shrank by 6.2% in the second quarter, according to government estimates. And in the U.S., the focus shifted back to economic jitters as investors continue to hope for the Fed to again stimulate the economy. Throw in low trading volume typical of mid-August, and stocks gave up ground to start the week.
As earnings season heads into the final stretch, a not-good-enough report sparked an after-hours plunge at Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN). It announced Q3 guidance around analyst estimates, but on target isn’t what analysts wanted to hear, and the stock is trading down nearly 14% in after-hours trading.
For the day, the Nasdaq managed to eke out a gain to continue its run, inching up a fraction to finish at 3,022. The S&P lost 0.13% to end at 1,404, and the Dow lost 0.29% to finish at 13,169.
Shares of Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) moved up to start the day as the retailer announced plans to spin off its Hometown and Outlet stores group, hoping to raise between $400 to $500 million in the process. Shares of SHLD moved up just under 6%. The news didn’t help anyone else in the sector, with J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) shedding nearly 3% just two days after a short-squeeze rally followed a miserable earnings release. Go figure.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced it would lay off 4,000 employees from its Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) unit and consolidate up to one-third of its 90 facilities. MMI has lost money in 14 of the last 16 quarters. Google also said it’s buying travel book business Frommers. GOOG continued a mild recent rally, rising 2.7% on the day. Since June, the stock is up 16%.
Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) announced plans to cut the price of its e-reader tablet in an effort to take the fight directly at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). B&N’s Nooks will retail for $20 less than Amazon’s 8-gigabyte Kindle Fire. The news appeared to do more damage to BKS as shares dropped over 2% on the day, while AMZN was down just a fraction.
Earnings announcements continue on Tuesday, with Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS), Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Saks (NYSE:SAKS) due to report.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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