Market Minute: Another Turnaround for JCPenney; Microsoft to Drop XP

Ron Johnson, chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Co., testifies at State Supreme court in New York, U.S., on Friday, March 1, 2013. Johnson took the witness stand to testify in a dispute between his department-store chain and Macy?s Inc. over the right to sell Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. merchandise. Photographer: Thomas Iannaccone/Pool via Bloomberg
Thomas Iannaccone/Pool via Bloomberg

J.C. Penney does an about-face, and Microsoft sets a deadline for millions of Windows users.

The Dow Industrials rose 48 points yesterday, the S&P 500 added 9 and the Nasdaq gained 18. The market has been on a see-saw ride recently. The S&P has not had back-to-back gains or losses for the past 13 sessions, the longest such streak on record.

J.C. Penney's (JCP) controversial CEO Ron Johnson has been ousted after less than two years on the job. The company's revenue fell sharply last year after he eliminated sale prices and coupons, only to backtrack later on. Myron Ullman, the former CEO, will return as Johnson's replacement. Investors are concerned the flip-flop could lead to another expensive makeover. Penney shares lost half their value during Johnson's tenure.

If you own a computer running on Windows XP system, Microsoft (MSFT) will in effect disown you a year from now. The company says it will stop supporting XP, meaning it will not provide security patches or system updates.

Alcoa (AA) kicked off the earnings season last night with a better-than-expected increase in quarterly profit. But revenue for the industrial bellwether was a bit shy of estimates. The company also said China's production cutbacks are reducing the worldwide oversupply of aluminum.

Google (GOOG) has been giving away its Android system to mobile phone makers, in exchange for prominent placement of the company's apps on Google Maps, YouTube and others. Now a group of rivals – including Microsoft, Oracle (ORCL) and Nokia (NOK) – are asking European regulators to charge Google with antitrust violations.

Ford (F) says its Focus brand was the top-selling passenger car in the world last year. It sold more than 1 million of the cars in 2012 – a quarter of them in China.

And Citigroup (C) may file suit against the Nasdaq. According to the Wall Street Journal, the bank wants to recoup losses suffered in the botched launch of Facebook (FB) stock last May.

–Produced by Drew Trachtenberg