Summary of business headlines: Google earnings jump on ad biz; Microsoft's big charge leads to first quarterly loss; Economic doldrums continue; Job cuts to come at Morgan Stanley.
USA-USCLOSE - Making inroads into Facebook's turf, Google says 250 million of its users have upgraded to Google+, its social networking tool. The top search engine also said after the bell Thursday that revenues in its core Internet business shot up 21 percent in the second quarter for overall revenues of $12.2 billion.
Reuters Breaking Views Columnist, Robert Cyran.
ROB CYRAN, REUTERS BREAKING VIEWS COLUMNIST SAYING:
"Google's got a lot of good things happening because of mobile. The number of people using its Android phones is up really sharply. The number of clicks per search on phones is also up very sharply and they finally finished their acquisition of Motorola Mobility. "
Also reporting after the bell: Microsoft. It turned in a loss of close to half a billion dollars, its first since going public. But it was largely due to a massive charge for its ailing online unit. Excluding that, the company beat estimates.
Meanwhile it may be a tough slog for the U.S. economy in the second half of the year.. at least based on Thursday's data.
America's housing market, which has been showing recent signs of life, took a surprise step back in June. Existing home sales hitting their lowest point in eight months.
Factory activity in the Mid Atlantic pulled back a third straight month in June and more than expected. And many more of Americans were filing for jobless benefits. The numbers surging by 34,000 in the latest weekly survey.
In earlier earnings news, Morgan Stanley's bond-trading business got clobbered last quarter on the threat of a credit rating downgrade--a factor in a 24% drop in revenues. Morgan Stanley says it's bracing for further global economic weakness and low trading volume ahead and for that it is shrinking its payroll by seven percent.
A tough backdrop for stocks, but they managed small gains looking to promising earnings reports from the tech sector. The S&P 500 touching a two and a half month high.
In Europe shares climbed to a four-month high as many companies' quarterly results beat forecasts.
Jeanne Yurman, Reuters.