Market Minute: Penney Attracts New Investors; Auto Sales Zoom Ahead

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J.C. Penney draws new support, and automakers report another month of strong sales. Those and more are what's in Wednesday's Market Minute.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 23 points Tuesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 6 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) jumped 22 points.
j.c. penney hedge fund investors bill ackman
Mark Lennihan/AP
Two more hedge funds have taken significant stakes in J.C. Penney (JCP). Along with two other hedge funds that were already invested in the struggling retailer, these investment groups hold a combined 21 percent of the struggling retailer. This follows the departure last month of activist investor William "Bill" Ackman, who sold his 18 percent stake in the company at a steep loss.

Dollar General (DG) says its quarterly net rose 15 percent, led by sales of grocery items, brand name products and tobacco items. An analyst at MKM Partners says Dollar General is among the most attractive retail growth stories.

LinkedIn (LNKD), the social networking company for professionals, is looking to raise an additional billion dollars through a stock offering. It wants to use the proceeds to expand its product line and to expand abroad. LinkedIn shares have more than doubled in value so far this year.

Automakers are set to post sales for August. Edmunds.com forecasts a solid 13.3 percent increase from a year ago. Industry-wide sales have been running at an annual rate of between 15 and 16 million units since late last year. But several news reports say auto buyers might find shortages of some popular Ford (F), General Motors (GM) and Chrysler models.

Shares of Guidewire Software (GWRE) are set to rally after the company posted earnings that easily topped expectations. But H&R Block (HRB) says its quarterly loss widened from a year ago and its stock is likely to lose ground.

And Samsung today unveils the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. This wearable technology is seen as more of a fashion statement than a major technological advancement. But a slew of new tech devices are on the way. Apple (AAPL) is expected to rollout two new phones next week.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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