J.C. PenneyJ.C. Penney ( JCP) reported a much wider than anticipated quarterly loss late Tuesday and said it's discontinuing its dividend. The department store retailer, which is trying to reinvent itself under the direction of CEO Ron Johnson, a former Apple ( AAPL) executive, reported an adjusted loss of $55 million, or 25 cents a share, and said same-store sales fell 18.9% in its fiscal first quarter ended in April. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a loss of 11 cents a share in the quarter. "Sales and profitability have been tougher than anticipated during the first 13 weeks, but the transformation is ahead of schedule," said Johnson in a press release. The company now expects to record additional restructuring charges in 2012 so it dropped its outlook for GAAP earnings of $1.59 a share for the year. The elimination of the quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share is expected to result in annual savings of $175 million. The stock was last quoted at $28.85, down 13.4%, on volume of more than 4 million, according to Nasdaq.com.
General MotorsShares of General Motors ( GM) were up more than 4% to $22.31 on late volume of more than 560,000 following news that Warren Buffett has purchased a significant stake in the car and truck maker. In addition, the company has reportedly decided to stop advertising on Facebook. The news comes ahead of the social networking giant's initial public offering, which is expected to take place on Friday. Based on Tuesday's regular-session close at $21.42, GM shares are up 6.7% so far in 2012. Based on the latest filing of his holdings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.B) built a stake of 10 million GM shares in the first quarter.
SafewaySafeway ( SWY) said its board has approved a 21% increase in its quarterly dividend to 17.5 cents a share from 14.5 cents a share. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocery store operator said the higher dividend is to be paid on July 12 to shareholders of record on June 21. The stock closed Tuesday's regular session at $18.78, down 13 cents. Year-to-date, the shares are down more than 10%.