Business News You Need Today: Aug. 16, 2010

Here's news from the business world and other money matters to watch out for Monday (last updated at 8:14 a.m. Eastern time):

IPO's Success Falls To New CEO: As General Motors speeds toward its public stock offering, newly named CEO Daniel Akerson will need to convince shareholders that the slimmed-down automaker is a worthy investment. The resurgent company, which could file papers for the IPO as soon as today, has had just two profitable quarters, and some believe GM needs to log a few more months of profits before going public.

China Now World's No. 2 Economy: Japan has long held the title of the world's second-largest economy -- that was until last quarter when fast-growing China surpassed Japan. Economic reports from Japan's government on Monday showed the Asian nation's nominal gross domestic product for the second quarter totaled $1.29 trillion, less than China's $1.34 trillion. Japan remained bigger in the first half of 2010, the Japanese Cabinet Office said. China overtook the U.S. last year to become the world's largest auto market. The nation of 1.3 billion people is on track to overtake the U.S. economy as the world's largest by 2027, according to analysis by Goldman Sachs (GS).

Dell To Buy 3Par: Dell (DELL) has agreed to buy 3Par (PAR), a data-storage company, for about $1.13 billion cash, the computer maker said Monday. Fremont, Calif.-based 3Par makes products designed to minimize capacity and energy costs. Dell's offer values 3Par's stock at $18 a share, an 87% premium above Friday's closing price of $9.65. In premarket trading, 3Par shares surged 85% to $17.89.

Earnings Spotlight Shifts To Retailers: Retailers move into the earnings spotlight this week, as this season earnings reports begin winding down. The profits parade starts with home-improvement giant Lowe's (LOW) on Monday, followed by the mother of all retailers, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), on Tuesday. Analysts expect Wal-Mart to report per-share earnings of 96 cents, an 8.3% gain from a year ago, on a near-5% rise in second-quarter revenues. Target (TGT), discounter Dollar Tree (DLTR) and youth-oriented clothier Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) also report this week.

Hulu Pushing For IPO?: Hulu, the popular online video supplier, may go public in a transaction that could value the company at over $2 billion, The New York Times reports. Whether Hulu's unproven business model can deliver substantial profits remains to be seen, making an IPO a challenge amid the current soft stock market. Hulu is owned by News Corp. (NWS), Walt Disney (DIS), General Electric's (GE) NBC Universal unit and private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners. The site's content includes movies and TV shows from NBC and Fox Broadcasting.

Oil Prices Soften Along With Economy: Oil prices remained well under $80 a barrel in Asian trading Monday amid fears the economic recovery may have stalled. Benchmark crude for September delivery was up 40 cents to $75.79 a barrel at mid-afternoon in Bangkok. On Friday, the contract fell 35 cents to settle at $75.39 a barrel, its lowest level in a month. Crude began last week's trading above $81 a barrel, but fell through the week on concern the economy won't grow much in the second half of the year. Stocks on world markets also fell Monday on reports of a sharp slowdown in Japan's economic growth. The news follows recent similar data from the U.S. and China and adds to evidence that the global economic recovery is losing momentum. Stock futures on Wall Street moved slightly lower Monday in response to Japan's slower growth.

Slater May Get TV Job: Steven Slater's slide off a JetBlue Airways (JBLU) airplane and into notoriety last week may have netted the 39-year-old flight attendant a new career, reports WalletPop's Sarah Coffey. One television producer is eying Slater as a possible host for a show about workers who quit their jobs in extravagant ways. Slater drew the world's attention Aug. 9 after a dispute with a customer led the veteran airline worker to deploy the plane's emergency evacuation chute and slide down to the tarmac at New York's Kennedy International Airport, eventually making his way home. Slater still faces felony charges for his act.

Gracious Home Files Bankruptcy: Manhattan-based retailer Gracious Home has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The iconic retailer is known to many consumers in the New York area for its unique collection of home goods, children's furniture and more. As Luxist's Deidre Woollard reports, however, Gracious Home isn't closing its doors, just reorganizing its business.