General Motors delays stock-offer announcement

General Motors Co. is likely to file paperwork next week that describes its plan to sell shares to the public, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

The Detroit automaker had planned to file the papers on Friday but delayed the move to build distance between the filing and two major announcements it made on Thursday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the company is not commenting publicly on the stock sale.

GM said Thursday that CEO Edward Whitacre would step down as CEO Sept. 1 and be replaced by board member Daniel Akerson. It also reported a $1.3 billion second-quarter profit, its second-straight positive quarter.

J.C. Penney decreases profit outlook for year

J.C. Penney Co. cut its profit outlook for the rest of the year, a sign of jitters that Americans, still stinging from the recession and worried about jobs, aren’t going to spend more any time soon.

The reduced outlook came Friday as Penney reported a second-quarter profit as it benefited from tight inventory controls and exclusive store-label brands. Shares fell almost 2 percent, or 40 cents, to $20.40 per share.

Penney, based in Plano, Texas, earned $14 million, or 6 cents per share, in the three months ended July 31. That compares with a loss of $1 million, or break-even per share, in the same quarter last year.

IBM to purchase Unica in $480 million deal

IBM Corp. said Friday that it has agreed to buy the marketing services company Unica Corp. in a $480 million deal that would give IBM more tools to meet its customers’ growing demand for targeted advertising.

The all-cash acquisition brings IBM deeper into the advertising business, a relatively new area for the company.

In June, the Armonk, N.Y., company agreed to buy Coremetrics Inc., a company that helps target online marketing.

It also expands IBM’s software business, its most profitable division and the main focus of a $20 billion acquisition spree for IBM over the past few years.

Gasoline prices slide lower as oil prices stagnate

Gasoline prices are now a penny below where they were a week ago and could head lower after a retreat in oil prices over the past few days.

The national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $2.770 on Friday, compared with $2.776 on Thursday and $2.779 a week ago, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.

Oil prices continued slipping after falling more than $5 in the first four trading sessions of the week. Benchmark crude for September delivery fell 35 cents to settle at $75.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its lowest level in a month.