Money Minute: Penney Sales Continue Rise; BJ's Eyes Hess Gas Stations

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Is that story real news, or an ad? That and more money stories you need to know Wednesday.

When you surf news or social media sites on the Web, are you ever confused by advertisements designed to look like news stories? Well, the Federal Trade Commission thinks it's a problem, and the agency is holding a workshop to discuss the issue. It wants to determine if new guidelines are needed to make sure these ads aren't deceptive.

J.C. Penney (JCP) is on the comeback trail. A key measure of sales in November rose by an estimated 10 percent. That's the retailer's second straight monthly gain after a long streak of declining sales comparisons. Analysts are encouraged, but still worry that J.C. Penney is sacrificing profits for heavily discounted sales.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 94 points Tuesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 6 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) dropped 8 points.

BJ's reportedly wants to buy Hess gas stations
CX Matiash/AP
The company that owns BJ's Wholesale Club is reportedly interesting in buying the Hess gas station chain. Hess (HES) previously said it would consider the sale of its 1,300 stations. BJ's isn't the only potential bidder. Marathon Petroleum's (MPC) top executive recently said the Hess stations would be an excellent fit with its Speedway chain.

Watch shares of Ambit Biosciences (AMBI). They're set to plunge after the biotech company said it wouldn't ask the Food and Drug Administration for an expedited review of its leukemia treatment.

The homebuilder Lennar (LEN) has won a $1 billion award against a former partner. A jury agreed with Lennar that a California developer led a smear campaign against the company. He accused Lennar of fraud and misuse of proceeds from their joint venture.

Finally, the United Auto Workers union is considering its first hike in dues since 1967. The union is trying to deal with declining membership, rising costs and problems with its efforts to organize foreign-owned carmakers. Reuters reports the dues could rise by as much as 25 percent.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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