Money Minute: Sam's Club Takes on Amazon; Tesla Plans New Battery Plant

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Sam's Club is fighting back against its biggest threat –- Amazon.com.

Sam's Club, the warehouse division of Walmart Stores (WMT), is testing out a subscription service similar to Amazon's (AMZN) Subscribe & Save program. The Wall Street Journal says the online service primarily focuses on basic consumer products, everything from paper towels to printer cartridges. Sam's Club is taking aim as Amazon pushes into its bread-and-butter line of grocery products. Basically, they're going after each other's main lines of business.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) is considering a massive new plant to manufacture the lithium-ion batteries that power its electric cars. The factory could cost as much as $5 billion and employ 6,500 workers.
Tesla is considering sites in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and New Mexico. Analysts say the factory could help Tesla bring down the high cost of the batteries, which could significantly reduce the car's $71,000 price tag. Earlier this week, Consumer Reports named the Tesla Model S as its overall top vehicle pick.

Tesla buyers may not worry about car financing, but for those of us who do, take note of this new trend. J.D. Power reports a third of the auto loans taken out this month are for six years, well above the historic norm. The longer term loan makes cars payments more affordable.

Speaking of loans, the federal government is suing ITT Educational Services (ESI), accusing the company of predatory lending practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleges the company uses high-pressure tactics to push consumers into costly loans that are likely to default. The agency said this case is a warning for the entire for-profit education industry.

Here on Wall Street, The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 18 points Wednesday, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 4 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was virtually flat.

Finally, Marvel superheroes are coming to New York City -- and then to Netflix (NFLX). Walt Disney (DIS) has signed an incentive-laden deal with the city and the state to film four new series and a miniseries.

-Produced by Drew Trachternberg.


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