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As of Wednesday’s close, shares of Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) were trading up 51 percent over the past three months, riding gains prompted by expansions in its business and positive analyst commentary. Earlier this month, Sterne Agee upgraded the stock “predicated on a more constructive longer-term view of the company.”It was with great foresight that the firm included the phrase “longer-term view” because the daily-deal company reported a fourth-quarter loss on Wednesday larger than the one posted the previous quarter, as slowing growth and contracting margins added greater pressure to its business.Investors responded quickly to the report and sent shares tumbling down as much as 25 percent in after hours trading. Groupon’s dismal forecast for the current quarter did not help give investors any more confidence. But confidence in Groupon’s ability to turn deal making into a profitable business has always been shaky — until its recent rally, of course. The company — which offers coupons for discounts at restaurants, retail stores, and for a variety of services — has seen its stock price fall and its revenues stumble since making its high profile initial public offering in in late 2011 that priced its shares at $20…
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