Barbie Sales Sag for 4th Straight Quarter

Morning Business Memo:

At 54 years old, is Barbie losing her appeal? Results from Mattel's 2nd quarter report suggest the answer is yes. The toy company's profits fell 24 percent compared with the year before. While sales of the Barbie franchise declined for the fourth straight quarter, revenue rose for Monster High Dolls and American Girl products. The toy industry is facing a growing challenge from mobile devices that are changing the way children and their parents play.

Google is joining the race for an online version of pay TV. The search giant has held talks with major media companies to introduce an Internet cable service. Google is said to have opened discussions about licensing traditional TV content for a streaming service. Intel and Sony are working on "similar offerings," says The Wall Street Journal. Apple has discussed a rival plan that would be in partnership with cable providers such as Comcast or Time Warner. Netflix and Amazon already offer online TV, but the Google proposal would be more disruptive, adding live broadcast channels to a streaming service.

Yahoo shares fell in after-market trading. The Internet firm released disappointing 2nd quarter results. Profits rose 46 percent, mostly from an investment in the Chinese online firm Alibaba. But Yahoo sales dropped 7 percent from the year before. The decline reflects Yahoo's difficulties selling more digital advertising as marketers increase their spending at rivals Google and Facebook.

An industry group says China's Internet population has jumped 20 percent in just the past year. The end-of-June figures from the China Internet Network Information Center say China now has 591 million Internet users, many of whom surf the Web from smartphones and other wireless devices.

Investors will be listening closely this morning to what Ben Bernanke has to say. The chairman of the Federal Reserve gives his twice yearly testimony today before Congress. Recent comments by Bernanke on the Fed's bond buying policy and low interest rates led to major moves for stocks. The S&P 500's winning streak came to a halt Tuesday. For the first time in nearly two weeks, stock averages lost ground with a small drop. Futures are lower this morning.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc

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