Stocks Finish Mixed in Slow Session

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks finished mixed Monday as disappointing data on Japan's economic growth triggered some mild profit-taking after five weeks of gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 38 points, or 0.29%, to settle at 13,169. The blue-chip index ranged between 13,113 and 13,205 on the day and is now up 7.8% so far in 2012.

Twenty-five of the Dow's 30 components closed in the red, led by Alcoa ( AA), Cisco ( CSCO) and du Pont ( DD).

Shares of Coca-Cola ( KO) slipped as well after Goldman Sachs downgraded shares of the soft drink giant to neutral from buy, citing issues such as weaker growth and growing competitive pressures.

Blue chips in positive territory included American Express ( AXP), Kraft Foods ( KFT) and Walt Disney ( DIS).

The S&P 500 lost 2 points, or 0.13%, at 1404, snapping a six-session winning streak.

The Nasdaq managed to tack on nearly 2 points, or 0.05%, to finish at 3022.52.

The weakest sectors were basic materials, conglomerates and energy. Consumer cyclicals were the only sector to close higher.

Volume was light, totaling just 2.49 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.35 billion on the Nasdaq. Losers outpaced winners by a less than 1.5-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq and a less than 2-to-1 ratio on the Big Board.

Data showed that Japan's economy expanded at a slower-than-expected annual rate of 1.4% in the April-June quarter as the country's exports suffered under the strong yen and European debt crisis. That was a significant decline from a revised 5.5% the prior quarter and missed the median forecast of 2.5%, according to Reuters, and added to growing evidence of a stalling global economy.

"The pace of growth is likely to slow over the rest of the year," warned Kiyoko Katahira, an economist at Société Générale.

On Friday, the markets were hit by weaker-than-expected China trade data, though economists expected that this and a batch of other weak reports from the country meant that it was imminent that Beijing would carry out a 50-basis-point cut in its reserve ratio requirement.

That said, "we do not expect the outgoing government to jump to remedy slow domestic demand with fiscal stimulus," noted Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics. "If needed, this task will be left to incoming leaders."

Bank of America has slashed its full-year growth projection for China to 7.7% from 8%.

September crude oil futures settled down 14 cents at $92.73 a barrel and December gold futures settled down $10.20 at $1,612.60.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury slipped 2/32, lifting the yield to 1.669%. The greenback was down 0.18%, according to the dollar index.

The FTSE in London settled down by 0.26% and the DAX in Germany closed 0.50% lower.

"Euro issues are still around," said Paul Donovan, global economist at UBS. "German political figures have been making nasty comments about Greece. The German economy minister suggested a Greek exit might be manageable; economists worry that politicians might really believe that to be true."

On Monday, official data showed that Greece's economy contracted 6.2% in the second quarter compared with a year ago.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index close down 0.27% and the Nikkei in Japan finished flat.

In corporate news, Sears ( SHLD) shares gained nearly 6% as the company prepared to spin off its Hometown and Outlet stores and some hardware stores into a separate publicly traded company.

Shares of British soccer club Manchester United ( MANU) rose 1% in their second day of trading, closing at $14.15, just above their IPO pricing.

Groupon ( GRPN) endured a volatile regular trading session then saw its shares tank in late trades after the company reported an above-consensus profit for the second quarter but came in light on the top line.

The Chicago-based company posted non-GAAP earnings of $53.8 million, or 8 cents a share, for the three months ended June 30 on revenue of $568.3 million. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a profit of 3 cents a share in the quarter on revenue of $573.1 million.

Gross billings totaled $1.29 billion in the second quarter, up from $929.2 million in the same period a year earlier, but down slightly on a sequential basis from $1.35 billion in the first quarter. For the third quarter, the company expects revenue ranging from $580 million to $620 million with income from operations pegged between $15 million and $35 million. The average analysts' view is for earnings of 5 cents per share on revenue of $604.5 million.

The stock closed at $7.55, up 11 cents after ranging between $8.05 and $7.25 in regular trades. In after-hours action, the stock was last quoted at $6.36, down 15.8%, on volume of 6.71 million, according to

Motorola Mobility, which Google ( GOOG) bought in May, told employees Sunday it plans to cut 20% of its work force. Google's stock closed up 2.8%.

--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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