(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note after weak data from Japan added to the evidence that global growth is slowing.
S&P 500 Index shed 0.13 percent to finish at 1,404.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.29 percent to end at 13,169.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 0.05 percent to close at 3,022.52.
Japan's gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent in the April-June period, versus an expansion of 5.5 percent in the prior quarter, according to a report from Cabinet Office. Economists projected a growth of 2.3 percent. The weak report from Japan follows a data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC) last week that showed Chinese exports increased a slower rate, up just 1 percent versus a growth of 11.3 percent in June and well below economists expectations of a gain of 8 percent.
Following a set of downbeat economic readings from Europe and Asia over the past few weeks, investors hope for some definite action from the major policy makers to stimulate growth.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: GOOG, SHLD, SYY, TSO, GRPN, VECO, FMCN, FSII
In corporate news, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) gained 2.81 percent. In a regulatory filing, the search-engine giant disclosed that roughly 4,000 jobs will be cut at its Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. unit. Google expects to record a charge of no greater than $275 million in 2012 as a result of the changes which also includes closing of nearly a third of Motorola's offices.
Separately, Google agreed to acquire John Wiley & Sons Inc.'s Frommer's travel brand for an undisclosed amount to boost its local services.
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD) rose 5.72 percent after the retailer detailed plans to spin off its Hometown and Outlet businesses and some hardware stores into a separate publicly traded company. Sears expects to raise $346.5 million from the spinoff.
SYSCO Corp. (NYSE:SYY) added 4.51 percent after the distributor of frozen foods posted its quarterly results. The company reported a fall in earnings for the fourth quarter as it recorded charges related to a multi-employer pension plan withdrawal. Sales rose 5.9 percent.
Tesoro Corp. (NYSE:TSO) jumped 9.49 percent after the petroleum refiner agreed to acquire BP Plc's (NYSE:BP) integrated Southern California refining and marketing business.
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) slumped 7.28 percent following its second-quarter results. The company earned 8 cents a share on an non-GAAP basis on revenue of $568.3 million. Wall Street analysts, on average, expected the online deals site to earn 3 cents a share on revenue of $573.1 million. Gross billings rose 38 percent. It forecasts third-quarter revenue between $580 million and $620 million, while analysts expect $604.5 million.
Veeco Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ:VECO) tumbled 5.19 percent. Deutsche Bank (DB) downgraded rating on shares of the Plainview, New York-based company to "Hold" from "Buy". The bank believes the set-up is less favorable for a positive trade through the year-end considering the prospect that Q3/Q4 bookings recovery expected by MOCVD tool makers may get pushed out by 1-2 quarters.
Focus Media Holding Ltd. (NASDAQ:FMCN) advanced 8.85 percent after the Chinese digital-media network company announced that a consortium including its Chief Executive proposed to take the company private in a deal valued at $27.00 per American depositary share.
FSI International Inc. (NASDAQ:FSII) surged 52.48 percent after the supplier of surface conditioning equipment agreed to be acquired by Japan's Tokyo Electron Ltd. for about $252.5 million.
European markets closed in red, with Germany's DAX dropping 0.50 percent to close at 6,909.68. France's CAC40 declined 0.27 percent to finish at 3,426.41. U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.26 percent to end at 5,831.88.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index tumbled 1.51 percent to finish at 2,136.08. Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.07 percent to end at 8,885.15. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.27 percent to end at 20,081.36. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,633.45, up 0.43 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures edged 0.15 percent lower to $92.730 per barrel and natural gas futures dropped 1.23 percent to $2.736 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures lost 0.60 percent to $1,613 per ounce and silver futures fell 1.00 percent to $27.78 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro rose 0.38 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2337. The British pound dipped 0.03 percent against the greenback to 1.5685, while the dollar inched up 0.10 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.3500.