Briefs | Pennies at Penney

By Kyle Stock

DATA: KAISER

• J.C. Penney is still struggling months after it replaced Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson with his predecessor, Myron “Mike” Ullman. The department-store giant posted a $586 million loss in the quarter ended Aug. 3 as sales fell 12 percent from the year-earlier period. The retailer revived discounts but still lured fewer shoppers than last summer. A bright spot: Back-to-school sales are encouraging. • Al Jazeera America, the U.S. unit of the Qatar-based news operation, started broadcasting from its New York City nerve center, capping a decade-long effort to break into the U.S. media market. The network is staffed with dozens of American TV veterans, but will also draw from Al Jazeera’s 70 bureaus worldwide. • Best Buy posted its biggest quarterly profit in more than two years after trimming prices closer to those of online rivals, closing stores, and laying off managers. Net income at the electronics retailer rose to $266 million, from a $12 million profit a year ago. Best Buy’s Web sales were particularly brisk, thanks to a new price-matching policy. • A spate of safety tests did nothing to slow Tesla Motors’ race to conquer the auto business. Its electric car scored a perfect five-star rating in every category reviewed by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The heavy battery that sits low in Tesla sedans helps prevent rolling. • Five years after the world’s financial infrastructure all but toppled, U.S. banks still aren’t fully prepared for economic calamity, according to a Federal Reserve report. Though banks have raised capital levels, recent stress tests show they haven’t done enough to test for and report seismic shifts in the economy.

The average employer-provided health-care premium rose 4 percent this year, says a new survey. That outpaced wages, but it’s a far cry from the hikes predicted by critics of Obamacare.

$6.7m

The dismal opening-weekend box office for Jobs, the critically panned biopic of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Lowe’s and Home Depot continued to cash in on the U.S. housing recovery: Combined, they made $2.7 billion in profits during the summer quarter, 20 percent more than a year earlier.

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