Microsoft reports first loss as public company
LOS ANGELES Microsoft said Thursday that an accounting adjustment to reflect a weak online ad business led to its first quarterly loss in its 26 years as a public company.
The software company had warned that it was taking a $6.2 billion charge because its 2007 purchase of online ad service aQuantive hasn't yielded the returns envisioned by management. The non-cash adjustment is something companies do when the value of their assets decline. Microsoft Corp. paid $6.3 billion for aQuantive, only to see rival Google Inc. expand its share of the online ad market.
The charge led to a $492 million loss in the April-June quarter, or 6 cents a share. That compares with earnings of $5.9 billion, or 69 cents, a year ago.
Data add to signs of slowing recovery
WASHINGTON A raft of economic news Thursday sketched a picture of a weakening U.S. economy held back by sluggish home buying and factory production.
Americans bought fewer homes in June than in May. Manufacturing in the Federal Reserve's Philadelphia region contracted for a third straight month this month. And a gauge of future U.S. economic activity fell in June.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose 34,000 last week. Normally, that would signal an increase in layoffs. But the figure was skewed higher by seasonal factors that made it hard to tell whether the job market might be worsening.
Mortgage rates fall to record low
WASHINGTON Average rates on fixed mortgages fell again this week to record lows, creating more incentive for buyers to enter the recovering housing market.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.53 percent. That's down from 3.56 percent last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
The average rate on the 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, declined to 2.83 percent, below last week's previous record of 2.86 percent.
From wire reports