August 18th, 2010
10:58 PM ET

GM files to sell shares; stocks rally for second day in a row

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

GM files to sell shares to the public

General Motors filed registration documents Wednesday to sell shares to the public again, setting the stage for the U.S. government to reduce its ownership of the automaker.

In a highly-anticipated regulatory filing, GM said it plans to offer an unspecified number of common shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the company's previous ticker symbol of "GM."

The automaker said it will not receive any proceeds from the sale of common stock held by current shareholders, including the U.S. government. At the same time, the company said it will offer an undisclosed number of preferred shares, which will be used to fund its operations.

"The amount of securities offered will be determined by market conditions and other factors at the time of the offering," GM said in a statement.

Stocks rally for second day in a row

U.S. stocks posted their second consecutive day of gains Wednesday, turning the market around after a week's worth of losses.

After starting out the day lower, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points, or 0.1%, to 10,416 the S&P 500 inched up 2 points, or 0.2%, to 1,094 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6 points, or 0.3%, to 2,216.

Those gains built on Wall Street's strong advance the day before. But with no major economic releases on tap Wednesday, the market was having trouble finding direction as stocks jumped around throughout the day.

Target seemed to lift the retail sector when the company offered a profit outlook for the current quarter that was in line with analysts' estimates, even though its latest earnings were lackluster.

Otherwise, a sheer lack of other economic reports seemed to buoy markets, said Bruce McCain, senior vice president and chief investment strategist of Key Private Bank.

Johnson & Johnson CEO maps quality shake up

Johnson & Johnson is restructuring its manufacturing hierarchy and creating a new position to ensure quality products, the company's chief executive said Wednesday.

The move was spurred by multiple massive recalls by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil division, the maker of Tylenol. McNeil, along with other manufacturing units, will now report directly to Johnson & Johnson's chief executive, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Although a small part of Johnson & Johnson, McNeil's quality woes have damaged its parent company's reputation. The Food and Drug Administration has slammed conditions at McNeil, and Johnson & Johnson received a grand jury subpoena last month about the recalls.

CEO William Weldon told the Wall Street Journal the move is part of a company-wide plan to help ensure quality products across the company.

- CNNMoney.com reporters Ben Rooney, Annalyn Censky and Julianne Pepitone contributed to this report.

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