- - Monday, June 18, 2012

J.C. Penney Co. says Michael Francis, the former Target Corp. executive brought in to redefine the brand, is leaving the company. The department store operator gave no reason for his immediate departure.

J.C. Penney hired Mr. Francis in October as president to redefine the Plano, Texas, company’s brand and boost its sagging sales.

J.C. Penney has hired a number of big-name executives to help transform everything about the retailer. The riskiest move was the elimination of hundreds of sales events in favor of more predictable low prices, but shoppers have not embraced the change.

Shares of J.C. Penney fell nearly 6 percent in after-hours trading Monday on the news


U.S. stocks meander as Europe debt crisis festers

NEW YORK — Crisis-weary investors scoffed Monday at what had appeared to be a hopeful turn in the European debt crisis: a victory for pro-Europe parties in a Greek election. U.S. stocks were little changed, and borrowing costs for Spain surged to alarming levels.

Investors appeared fed up with policymakers’ inability to resolve a crisis that has bedeviled markets for more than three years. Leaders of the most-developed countries are meeting in Mexico to discuss the crisis and the slowing global economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 25.28 points, or 0.2 percent, in closing trade, hitting 12,741.89 points.

The S&P 500 rose a modest 1.94 points (0.14 percent) to 1,344.78. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq rose 22.53 points (0.78 percent) to 2,895.32.


High Court: Drugmakers don’t owe for overtime

NEW YORK — The Supreme Court has ruled that sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies do not qualify for overtime pay under federal law, a big victory for the drug industry.

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the court’s conservative majority concluded that the roughly 90,000 people who try to persuade doctors to prescribe certain drugs to their patients are not covered by the federal law governing overtime pay.

Many sales jobs are exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. But unlike typical salesmen who often work on commission, drug firm’s sales representatives cannot seal a deal with doctors. Federal law, in fact, forbids any binding agreement by a doctor to prescribe a specific drug.

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