Tag Archives: JCP

J.C. Penney: CIT Cash Advances Still Flowing to Suppliers

By The Associated Press

SAN BRUNO, CA - FEBRUARY 28:  A customer leaves a JCPenney store on February 28, 2013 in San Bruno, California.  J.C. Penney Co. reported a 31.7 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings with a net loss of $552 million, or $2.51 per share compared with a loss of $87 million, or $0.41 one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

PLANO, Texas — J.C. Penney says that CIT, the largest lender in the clothing industry, is still supporting deliveries from its suppliers. The department store operator also says it has ample liquidity to run its business.

Shares rose more than 7 percent in premarket trading Thursday.

On Wednesday, a New York Post report said that CIT Group Inc. (CIT) had stopped providing financial support to small and large suppliers selling to J.C. Penney stores — for now. The report said CIT made the decision after meeting with J.C. Penney officials to examine the company’s books.

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) said Thursday that CIT assured it that the newspaper report is untrue.

CIT is what the industry calls a “factor,” which makes cash advances to suppliers based on the goods they sell to the merchant. If vendors and factors become wary of a store’s creditworthiness, the retailer may have to pay suppliers cash upfront for goods, which could be a huge drain on liquidity. If suppliers stop shipping goods, it can be a death knell for a retailer.

Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney said that merchandise from CIT-supported suppliers currently makes up less than 4 percent of its overall inventory for the year.

J.C. Penney said that it still has the support of all of its key vendors, which are continuing shipments to the company. The retailer, which has 1,100 stores, anticipates closing the second quarter with about $1.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

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Shares climbed $1.09, or 7.5 percent, to $15.69 in premarket trading about two hours before the market open Thursday.

J.C. Penney is trying to reverse its fortunes after disastrous results under a failed transformation plan implemented by its former CEO Ron Johnson. Johnson was ousted in April after 17 months on the job. The board brought back former CEO Mike Ullman, who has reintroduced frequent sales and is bringing back key merchandise under store names like St. John’s Bay.

Analyst Deborah Weinswig of Citi Investment Research says J.C. Penney won’t see a recovery in its business until 2014. The analyst said in a client note that she’s been surprised that “quick fixes,” like bringing back coupons, hasn’t led to stronger sales and doesn’t think this will change in the near term. The analyst lowered the chain’s rating to “Sell” from “Neutral” and cut its price target to $11 from $20.

J.C. Penney doesn’t comment on analyst reports.


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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Can Returning CEO Ullman Revive Penney's Fortunes?

By The Associated Press

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NEW YORK — The return of the old guard at J.C. Penney have sent shares higher this week, even with major U.S. indexes suffering one of the worst downturns this year.

J.C. Penney brought back former CEO Mike Ullman to lead the company last week and he has already rehired one of his former executives forced out under Ron Johnson.

Johnson, the former Apple Inc. (AAPL) executive, was ousted himself last week after a disastrous 17 months at the helm.

The familiar faces have received a positive response on Wall Street, which has driven the stock up nearly 4 percent this week even as the S&P 500 slumped 3 percent.

At least one analyst that follows the company sees a precedent for Ullman’s second act.

Citigroup’s Deborah Weinswig said that bringing back old-hands worked successfully for BJ’s Wholesale Club in 2007, when Herb Zarkin as put back in the CEO‘s chair.

Zarkin rehired three key members of his former team to run merchandising, marketing and store operations. Over the next 12 months, revenue at comparable stores rose 3.7 percent, compared with the modest 1.2 percent increase in the prior-year period.

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One of Ullman’s first actions was to rehire Ken Mangone as executive vice president of product development, design and sourcing. He had left in December 2012. Nick Wooster, fashion blogger and a former executive at luxury stores such as Neiman Marcus who had taken on his role, is now out. Penney also announced this week that two other Johnson hires — Michael Kramer, chief operating officer, and Ken Walker, chief talent officer — are now gone.

Penney’s shares are still down 65 percent since early last year but investors appear to embrace an old familiarity.

Weinswig points out that Ullman had a deep bench that he could exploit.

“As of now, it’s a two-man band, but there are other former JCP executives available who could come to work for their former band leader,” Weinswig said.

Weinswig believes the merchandising, planning and allocation and store organization remains in good shape.

Liz Sweney, Penney’s chief merchandising officer and the head merchants in women’s, accessories, men’s and home were all with Penney during Ullman’s previous tenure. But she says the areas of marketing, finance, human resources and operations are lacking talent.

“We further suspect that there could be additional vacancies at lower levels of the organization, which JCP will need to fill,” Weinswig wrote. She says of utmost importance is finding a president or chief operating officer to serve as Ullman’s right hand man.

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), based in Plano, Texas, is in a cash crunch and is exploring ways to bolster its cash reserves.

Johnson had planned to reinvent the company by getting rid of coupons, bringing in new brands and

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/20/mike-ullman-revive-penneys/

Apple, Go Get Ron Johnson Back. Now.

By Evan Niu, CFA, The Motley Fool

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Way back in June 2011 when Apple lost retail chief Ron Johnson to J.C. Penney , it was seen as a huge loss for Apple and a big win for J.C. Penney. Johnson accepted the promotion, becoming CEO of the struggling department store chain. Nearly two years later, it would seem that Johnson wasn’t such a victory for J.C. Penney after all.

JCP data by YCharts.

Shares lost 55% of their value under his tenure (not including the 12% drop the following day after Johnson’s predecessor, Mike Ullman, was rehired). J.C. Penney is an entirely different breed of retailer compared to the Mac maker. Johnson’s strategy of removing discounts, coupons, and sales in favor of more transparent pricing didn’t resonate with consumers, and J.C. Penney’s sales suffered for it.

Well, as luck would have it, Johnson’s former position at Apple is still up for grabs, following John Browett’s departure in October. Since then, Apple has been searching for a new retail chief, with retail operations falling under CEO Tim Cook’s jurisdiction in the interim. Browett came from the U.K.’s Dixons chain, and the British exec later said that he simply “just didn’t fit” at Apple, maintaining that he wasn’t rejected for a lack of competency. Browett failed to see the big picture, trying to save costs without realizing that cost cutting is the last thing that Apple should do, especially if the customer experience is the thing getting shortchanged.

Apple Retail has been doing just fine
Since Johnson’s departure, it’s not as if Apple’s retail operations have struggled. Far from it — Apple retail has grown and has now generated $19.2 billion in trailing-12-month sales.

Source: SEC filings. Calendar quarters shown. TTM = trailing 12 months.

The company has also expanded its total store count by 74 stores to 401, up from 327 when he left. Most of this expansion has been internationally, as Apple’s domestic retail footprint is rather mature and the company is rightly focusing abroad.

Source: Apple conference calls. Calendar quarters shown.

Foot traffic is also up, with record 120 million visitors last quarter. Average quarterly revenue per store is also flirting with all-time highs at $16.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Source: Apple conference calls. Calendar quarters shown.

Clearly, Apple isn’t in dire need of Johnson to return. But at the same time, Apple Retail lacks dedicated leadership right now, and Johnson gets Apple. This is the guy that launched Apple Retail in the first place, promptly silencing critics that initially derided the move as misguided and doomed to fail. The Genius Bar is now the paragon of modern customer tech support, the type of notion that’s mostly lost in a department store environment.

Other tech giants have since tried to emulate Apple’s retail strategy, most notably Microsoft and Samsung. Microsoft Retail stores bear more than a passing resemblance to

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

J.C. Penney Stock Saved From Golden Parachutes

By Rich Duprey, The Motley Fool

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Despite the disaster that is its sales strategy, not to mention the apparent confusion that reigns in the C-suite, J.C. Penney stock is at least protected by one lesson learned: Don’t give your CEO a golden parachute.

Even though ex-CEO Ron Johnson was unceremoniously dumped by the board of directors in favor of once-and-future chief executive Myron Ullman, he didn’t have any special clauses that would make his landing especially cushy should he separate from the company. Not that we need to cry over his pay package, either, but unlike with Penney’s former president Michael Francis, the board didn’t encrust Johnson’s severance pay with gold and diamonds.

Francis, you may recall, was hired in October 2011 and left a mere eight months later, but took with him a fairly rich deal: He got $4.7 million in termination pay, $3.6 million in severance, kept his $12 million signing bonus (which was supposed to be prorated if he left early), and $2 million in stock awards. That certainly eases any anguish he might have felt for presiding over the dismal retailer for less than a year.

Johnson was not so lucky. As the Fool’s Adam Levine-Weinberg detailed, Johnson got paid for Penney’s performance, which was dismal, therefore so was the pay he received. Hey, when you’re getting a base salary of $1.5 million, you don’t go scrounging in the seat cushions looking for nickels and dimes, but by CEO standards it was a stingy package he got, too.

He still owns about $12 million worth of J.C. Penney stock, some 893,000 shares received when he was hired because of what he left behind at Apple — 250,000 restricted shares today worth about $107 million. With J.C. Penney’s stock trading below $14 a share at yesterday’s close, that is less than half what the shares were worth when he received them. Ouch.

JCP data by YCharts.

Johnson also owns around 7.3 million warrants that he purchased with $50 million of his own money when he was hired, but with an exercise price of $29.92, it’s unlikely they’ll be touched anytime soon. Just as unlikely, though, is that they’ll even approach breakeven, let alone the $35.37 price he bought them at, unless Ullman performs some kind of miracle.

Certainly Johnson‘s willingness to agree to such a pay-for-performance scheme indicates he thought consumers would buy into J.C. Penney’s everyday-low-pricing strategy, and it’s commendable that a CEO was willing to put his money where his mouth is. Unfortunately, other executives will likely look at his experience and opt to forgo having to actually perform for investors before getting a rich payout as they’re kicked out the door.

J.C. Penney’s stock cratered under Ron Johnson‘s leadership, but could new CEO Mike Ullman present the opportunity investors have been waiting for? If you’re wondering whether J.C. Penney is a buy today, you’re invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool’s must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Is J.C. Penney a Buy After the Crash?

By Austin Smith and Eric Bleeker, CFA, The Motley Fool

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After falling some 60% over the past 12 months, even the most bearish J.C. Penney naysayers have to start wondering if this is a stock that’s worth more dead than alive. With a huge portfolio of real estate to sell, and a relatively large cash balance, J.C. Penney may be worth another look for the value-minded investor out there. 

But with CEO Ron Johnson out, investors are beginning to doubt that this value will ever bubble to the surface. If you’re wondering whether J.C. Penney is a buy today, you’re invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool’s must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP‘s turnaround — or lack thereof. Simply click here now for instant access.

And for more details, check out the following video.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

JCPenney's Ron Johnson Exits Taking A Vision Of The Future Of Retail With Him

By Lydia Dishman, Contributor

You’ve heard the news: JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson has left the building and will be replaced by his predecessor, Myron (Mike) Ullman. For those playing along at home, it’s been less than two years since he began to put his ambitious turnaround plan in motion. Unfortunately, JCP’s board and shareholders didn’t have the patience to wait for the sweeping changes to take effect. Even more unfortunate: a return to the old guard which wasn’t working, either. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

J.C. Penney Needs to Reinvent Reinvention

By Jonathan Salem Baskin, Contributor

Yesterday’s ouster of JCP‘s CEO Ron Johnson came as no surprise to anybody who has witnessed the company’s tumble into chaos over the past year (I wrote about it here). It’s not the first company to hire a “visionary” leader to transform itself: HP did it with similarly horrible results, and it’s too soon to tell if it’ll work at Yahoo. Now, JCP is going to reinvent itself again with the return of its former CEO, Mike Ullman. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Macy's, J.C. Penney Resume Court Battle Over Martha Stewart

By The Associated Press

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David Handschuh, The (New York) Daily News/AP Martha Stewart testifies in New York State Supreme Court on March 5. Stewart, 71, is at the center of a bitter legal battle between Macy’s and J.C. Penney that resumed Monday.


NEW YORK — Attorneys for J.C Penney and Macy’s were back in court Monday to fight over the Martha Stewart brand after a monthlong mediation period went nowhere.

But after the hearing, the real action began. J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) said late Monday, that the company’s board of directors has ousted CEO Ron Johnson after only 17 months on the job and rehired Johnson’s predecessor, Mike Ullman, 66, who was CEO of the department store chain for seven years until November 2011.

The case, which centers on Macy’s Inc.’s (M) claim that Penney’s deal to sell Martha Stewart branded-merchandise infringes on its own deal with the domestic diva, was likely just one of the reasons Johnson was shown the door. He also had presided over a price strategy that confused customers and drove them away.

The court-ordered mediation followed nearly three weeks of testimony from witnesses including the domestic diva herself, Penney, Johnson and Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren.

At issue is whether Macy’s has the exclusive rights to sell some Martha Stewart branded products such as cookware, bedding and bath products. Macy’s sued Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO), arguing that the company breached its long-standing contract when it signed a deal with Penney in December 2011 to open Martha Stewart mini-shops, planned for this spring. It also sued Penney, contending that it had no regard for the contract and that Johnson had set out to steal the business that Macy’s had worked hard to develop.

The stakes are high for all three companies involved but particularly for Penney, which is counting on a revamped home area to help it rebound from a disastrous year. The company amassed nearly $1 billion in losses and its revenue dropped about 25 percent as the first year of a transformation plan built around a new pricing strategy failed to resonate with shoppers.

Penney was counting on the overhauled home department as part of its bigger plan to turn Penney stores into mini-malls of sorts. It’s in the midst of rolling out 20 shops in its home area featuring products from such designers as Michael Graves and Jonathan Adler. Martha Stewart mini-shops were expected to anchor the home area.

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But those plans are in limbo. Penney had ordered goods like towels and cookware from Martha Stewart Living and were planning to name the goods JCP Everyday, to sidestep a conflict. But Macy’s is trying to stop the retailer from selling goods covered by Macy’s exclusive category even if they don’t carry the Martha …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

J.C. Penney's 97% Off Deal

By Chris Hill, The Motley Fool

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The following video is from Wednesday’s MarketFoolery podcast, in which host Chris Hill and analysts Jason Moser and Alex Scherer discuss the top business and investing stories of the day.

J.C. Penney’s board of directors cut CEO Ron Johson’s pay for 2012 by 97%. For FY 2012, J.C. Penney lost more than $4 billion in sales. None of the company’s top executives got a cash bonus for the year. What does the future look like for J.C. Penney? In this installment of Investor Beat, our analysts discuss the implications for investors.

J.C. Penney has been a train wreck whose comeback always seems just around the next earnings corner, but investors are beginning to doubt that CEO Ron Johnson can weave the same magic that he did at Apple. If you’re wondering whether J.C. Penney is a buy today, you’re invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool’s must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP‘s turnaround-or lack thereof. Simply click here now for instant access.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson's Pay Fell 97% in 2012

By The Associated Press

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Thomas Iannaccone/AP J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson.


NEW YORK — The CEO of struggling department store J.C. Penney saw his 2012 compensation package plummet nearly 97 percent to about $1.9 million without a sizeable stock award he got last year and no bonuses.

Ron Johnson, 54, received a base salary of $1.5 million, up from $375,000 which he received for a partial year after joining the company in August 2011, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday. He didn’t receive any stock or option awards, compared with a stock award worth $52.7 million on the date it was granted in 2011. The award was given to Johnson after he was named CEO and made a $50 million personal investment in the company.

He also received $388,587 in other compensation, including contributions to savings plan and perks like personal use of company aircraft, home security systems and information technology services.

The Plano, Texas-based company said Johnson received 44 percent of his target cash compensation — his base salary only. Because the company reported an operating loss for the fiscal year of about $1 billion, no executives received any performance-based bonuses.

In 2011, Johnson succeeded Myron Ullman III, who had been at Penney’s helm since December 2004. Under Johnson, J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) began a turnaround strategy that included getting rid of coupons and most of its sales events to focus on “everyday low prices,” bringing in hipper brands such as Joe Fresh and Betsy Johnson and renovating outdated stores by installing mini-shops to replace undifferentiated racks of clothing.

Johnson, who was the mastermind behind Apple’s chic streamlined stores, has a goal of reinventing J.C. Penney’s business into a hip place to shop in a bid to attract younger, wealthier shoppers. But in the year since the plan has been rolled out, once-loyal customers have strayed from the chain and it hasn’t been able to get enough new shoppers to replace them.

To turn around the business, J.C. Penney has backpedaled a bit. Last month it started sales again and brought back coupons. Still, some investors fear Johnson won’t be able to stem the sales decline in time to finish transforming the stores.

The company’s stock price fell 44 percent in 2012 and since then has fallen further, another 26 percent since the start of the year. It closed Tuesday at $14.55.

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Discussing compensation, J.C. Penney said in a filing that fiscal 2012 was the first year of a “multi-year transformation strategy” for the company.

“The company underwent tremendous change as we began shifting our business model from a promotional department store to a specialty department store,” the company said in the filing. “Fiscal 2012 was tougher than expected and the company’s sales and operating profit declined significantly.”

The Associated Press …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Pay More at Penney's now, and Pay Less Later

By Rich Duprey, The Motley Fool

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In theory, J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson had the right idea. He eschewed the false marketing strategy that retailers employ of marking up their prices so they can discount them later on and claim, “We’re having a sale!” He figured that in rough economic times, the low-price-everyday policy that’s served Wal-Mart so well would resonate with its shoppers, too.

Wrong! In what will likely become a case study in Marketing 101 classes for years to come, shoppers fled the department store chain in droves, driving down revenues 25% last year. Shoppers turned instead to retailers like Macy’s, which routinely practices the illusory price-cutting scheme, and would never think of abandoning it; Macy’s saw sales jump 5% in 2012. 

Well, Penney’s has finally seen the error of its ways, and is reintroducing the old mark-up-to-mark down pricing strategy for its own brand of clothes. Thus, shoppers, instead of finding a t-shirt priced at $5, will now see it tagged at $6; but because “we’re having a sale!” they’ll be able to buy it for $5.

You can almost see the looks of incredulity on the faces of Penney’s executives as shoppers respond to the new pricing scheme. Yet, just as marketers will tell you that there’s a psychological gain to be realized from pricing a product at $295 instead of $300, shoppers want to believe that they’re getting something special, and few things do that better than scooping up a pair of jeans “on sale.”

There’s no proof yet that simply rejoining the crowd behind the curtain, and acting the part of the Great and Powerful Oz by lowering prices, J.C. Penney will get customers to return; but retailers everywhere have learned an important lesson: There are some things you don’t mess with. Removing a key, powerful motivator from the equation is one of them.

Over the rainbow

J.C. Penney has been a train wreck whose comeback always seems just around the next earnings corner, but investors are beginning to doubt that CEO Ron Johnson can weave the same magic that he did at Apple. If you’re wondering whether J.C. Penney is a buy today, you’re invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool’s must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP‘s turnaround — or lack thereof. Simply click here now for instant access.

var FoolAnalyticsData = FoolAnalyticsData || []; FoolAnalyticsData.push({ …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

J.C. Penney's Plan to Lure Back Its Lost Customers

By Matt Brownell

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Earlier this year, J.C. Penney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson made an about-face on his “no coupons” pricing strategy after recognizing that it was driving away once-loyal customers. Now the company is making another bid to regain lost shoppers by bringing back many of the clothing brands that it ditched as part of its makeover.

Speaking before Bank of America’s 2013 Consumer and Retail Conference, J.C. Penney CFO Ken Hannah acknowledged that the revamp of its clothing collections had scared off some of the retailer’s core customers.

“You’re going to see some assortment that was edited out that the customer has been screaming loud and clear that’s been missing,” he said. “So the basic denim, khakis, St. John’s Bay for women — [that was a] huge, huge miss when we edited that out and didn’t offer an alternative for that customer. They voted with their money and took it somewhere else, and that’s something we need to address.”

Hannah said that these phased-out brands will start returning to stores next month.

It’s the first time we’ve heard a J.C. Penney executive acknowledge that the company’s apparel revamp has been a serious misstep. But as Hannah notes, customers have been complaining for a while that the new JCP no longer caters to their fashion tastes. Last week we ran emails from several disgruntled shoppers who said they stopped shopping at J.C. Penney because they no longer found clothes they liked there.

In fact, many of those emails specifically identified the removal of the St. John’s Bay brand as their cause for leaving. With the brand — and other “basic” clothes — coming back, will those former customers give J.C. Penney another chance?

Readers Weigh In

Tiffany Hiza says she’s happy to learn that St. John’s Bay would be making a comeback.

“I would be very excited to see the St. John’s Bay line return!” she writes. “They had some of the best fitting tank tops and tees on the market that seem to fit a ‘real woman’s’ body regardless of age… [I’m] hoping to see the sales and merchandise I liked return soon.”

Another former customer, Jane Malone, also indicated that the brand’s return could get her back in the stores.

“If the clothes I love come back I will give JCP another chance,” she writes.

Hilarie Ryals was more cautiously optimistic, and told us that the retailer would need to do two things with the relaunch if it wants to win back its wayward customers.

“Number one, they must commit to offering the same fit, quality, and classic design as before,” she tells us. “If they offer items that are poor quality, use weird trendy colors and styles that don’t fit well, the relaunch will fail.”

Secondly, she says the company should apologize.<br …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — March 18, 2013: Markets Slide on Cyprus Woes (KMB, VZ, RGLD, ACI, HPQ, SYNM, CLSN, HSOL, HAST, KIOR, FF, SBLK, FDS, CTAS, GLUU, JCP, NOK, BBRY)

By 24/7 Wall St.

Bull and Bear figures

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U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning following a weekend of confusion over the proposed solution to the banking problem in Cyprus. It’s not that Cyprus claims a particularly large banking system, but the proposed haircut for their depositors makes depositors everywhere wary (more coverage here). The Cypriot banking mess chilled markets in Asia and Europe today as well. There was little data released today, but the eurozone trade deficit came in higher than forecast and in China, house prices rose 2.1% month-over-month. In the U.S. the National Association of Home Builders index fell again in March, the second straight month of decline (more coverage here). U.S. financial stocks performed poorly today, while tech stocks posted a gain as speculation abounded that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) would seriously boost its dividend.

The U.S. dollar index rose 0.48% today, now at 82.654. The GSCI commodity index is up 0.4% at 652.50, with commodities prices mostly lower today on the stronger dollar. WTI crude oil closed up 0.3% today, at $93.74 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 0.2% at $109.57 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.1% today at about $3.87 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.8% today at $1,604.60 an ounce, its first close above $1,600 this month.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA down about 62 points to 14,452.06 (-0.43%), the NASDAQ fell more than 11 points (-0.35%) to 3,237.59, and the S&P 500 fell -0.55% or nearly 9 points to 1,552.10.

There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup (more coverage here); Royal Gold Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLD) started as ‘buy’ at BB&T; Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) raised to ‘neutral’ at Nomura; and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) raised to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley.

Earnings reports since markets closed last Friday resulted in several price moves today, including these: Syntroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: SYNM) is down 12.3% at $0.40; Celsion Corp. (NASDAQ: CLSN) is up 1.9% at $1.08; Hanwha Solarone Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: HSOL) is up 5.7% at $0.93; Hastings Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: HAST) is down 4.4% at $2.17; and Kior Inc. (NASDAQ: KIOR) is down 0.9% at $5.76.

Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from FutureFuel Corp. (NYSE: FF), Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ: SBLK), FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS), and Cintas Corp. (NASDAQ: CTAS).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ: GLUU) is up 11.1% at $3.71. The mobile games developer has been upgraded by several analysts.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is up 6.6% at $16.50. The beleaguered retailer gets a boost today from an analyst’s plan to convert some of the company’s stores to a REIT.

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is down 2.3% at $3.35. The handset maker is declining as the U.S. release of the new smartphone from BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) approaches later this week..

Stay tuned for Tuesday. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Why Cyprus Won't Hold Back the Dow

By Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

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With the stock market near record highs, investors are on edge, and the slightest hint of trouble can cause near-panic. Given the news over the weekend that not only will the European island nation of Cyprus need a bailout, but it will also come at the expense of bank depositors, visions of Great Depression-era bank runs and rhetoric about the confiscation of funds led to massive sell-offs in overseas stock markets. Yet as Fool contributor Morgan Housel noted earlier this morning, Cyprus’ bailout doesn’t deserve the huge hype that it’s getting. At least in the U.S., investors seem to have gotten that message, as the Dow Jones Industrials have recovered from initial losses of more than 100 points to trade down just 31 points as of 10:55 a.m. EDT. Broader markets are down roughly half a percent.

Within the Dow, banking stocks took the most substantial hit, with Bank of America down more than 1% and JPMorgan Chase falling 1.2%. The biggest threat from the Cypriot bailout is that bank customers in other countries will leap to the almost certainly false conclusion that their own deposits are at risk. With FDIC insurance, U.S. depositors are protected, but with ordinary Americans already predisposed against the banking industry, anything that leads more bank customers to withdraw deposits will only put an additional strain on the financial system.

Elsewhere, Incyte declined 7.2% after the company reported that a patient taking its myelofibrosis drug ruxolitinib contracted a disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Although this is the first case of PML associated with the drug, Incyte will get an independent assessment of the findings and could have to take additional steps in order to ensure the safety of the drug.

Finally, J. C. Penney soared more than 8% as two pieces of news helped boost the struggling retailer. One analyst said the company’s Joe Fresh concept has had a successful launch among customers, while a research group examining the value of the retailer’s real estate estimated that Penney could earn $1.2 billion in rental income by subletting store locations. Any move to unlock income will help the company, as it has been burning cash at an alarming rate during its restructuring.

J. C. Penney has been a true train wreck lately, but some value investors believe that J. C. Penney is a buy today. Make your own informed decision by claiming a copy of The Motley Fool’s must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP‘s turnaround odds — or lack thereof. Simply click here now for instant access.

var FoolAnalyticsData = FoolAnalyticsData || []; …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — March 12, 2013: Markets Can't Overcome Low Open (BBY, RSH, P, AAPL TJX, CVI, DMND, FCEL, URBN, BONT, COST, SSI, DOLE, COOL, PPHM, EXPR, TA, GLU, JCP, ZNGA)

By 24/7 Wall St.

Bull and Bear figures

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U.S. equity markets opened lower this morning but never managed to hold a position in positive territory. Despite a significant drop in U.K. industrial production in February, the country’s trade deficit was narrow than expected and the FTSE 100 index actually rose. Elsewhere in Europe the few data points that were released today did not move markets much one way or the other. In Asia, the Chinese government tried to persuade investors (not altogether successfully) that downturns in yesterday’s data reports were mainly due to the lunar new year. In the U.S., there was no early morning data and few earnings reports of note. A report on job gains and losses was mostly positive (more coverage here), and the afternoon auction of 3-year Treasury notes went off at a yield of 0.411%, identical with the February auction.

The U.S. dollar index rose 0.02% today, now at 82.594. The GSCI commodity index is down fractionally at 648.72, with commodities prices mostly mixed again today. WTI crude oil closed up 0.5% today, at $92.54 a barrel, following the release of the EIA’s short-term energy outlook (more coverage here). Brent crude trades down 0.6% at $109.61 a barrel. Natural gas is down 0.3% today at about $3.64 per million BTUs. Gold settled up 0.9% today at $1,591.70 an ounce.

The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up less than 2 points to 14,450.06 (0.01%), the NASDAQ fell more than 10 points (-0.32%) to 3,242.32, and the S&P 500 fell -0.24% or nearly 4 points to 1,552.48.

There were a several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) raised to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs; RadioShack Inc. (NYSE: RSH) cut to ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs; Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) started as ‘outperform’ at Pac-Crest; Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) maintained as ‘hold’ but price target cut to $420 at Jefferies; and The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) started as ‘overweight’ at Barclays.

Earnings reports since markets closed last night resulted in several price moves today, including these: CVR Energy Inc. (NYSE: CVI) is up 1.6% at $59.57; Diamond Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: DMND) is down 10.1% at $15.82; Fuel Cell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) is down 4.1% at $1.00; Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) is up 0.8% at $41.81; Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: BONT) is up 5.5% at $12.56; Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) is up 1.2% at $103.68 (more coverage here); and Stage Stores Inc. (NYSE: SSI) is down 0.8% at $26.62.

Before markets open tomorrow morning we are scheduled to hear from Dole Food Company Inc. (NYSE: DOLE), Majesco Entertainment Co. (NASDAQ: COOL), Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PPHM), Express Inc. (NYSE: EXPR), and TravelCenters of America LLC (NYSEMKT: TA).

Some standouts among heavily traded stocks today include:

Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ: GLUU) is up 15.3% at $2.79. The mobile game developer launched its first real-money mobile gambling game in the U.K.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is up 4.3% at $15.69. The retailer denies the CEO is leaving and the shares rise. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

J.C. Penney's Real Problem Isn't 'No Coupons or Sales' After All

By Matt Brownell

A mannequin stands as customers wait for the elevator at a J.C. Penney Co. store in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Confidence among U.S. consumers jumped more than forecast in February as Americans adjusted to a higher payroll tax and signs of a recovering housing market spurred faith in the future. J.C. Penney Co. is scheduled to release earnings data on Feb. 27. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Mannequins display the store’s new spring fashions at a J.C. Penney store in Queens, New York. (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

J.C. Penney’s disastrous sales plunge under CEO Ron Johnson has been widely attributed to his “fair and square” pricing strategy, which did away with the vast majority of its sales and coupons. But many shoppers say they’ve ditched the the retailer for an entirely different reason: They just don’t like the clothes anymore.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received dozens of emails from readers identifying themselves as former J.C. Penney (JCP) customers. And the vast majority of them said its new apparel offerings were the biggest reason they’ve stopped shopping there.

“I have been a customer of JCP for over 20 years. The only reason I still go there is because of the salon,” writes Jacqueline Price. “I do not buy any merchandise in this store since they did away with all the lines I loved, such as St John’s Bay [and] Gloria Vanderbilt.”

Another reader, Kris Christensen, echoes the sentiment that the retailer is ditching the clothes she loves in favor of new collections that don’t appeal to her.

“J.C. Penney was the last store to sell clothes for women that were reasonably priced and well made,” writes Christensen. “If emptying out the stores of decent clothing and stocking them with the cheapest made rags possible is the great change he was talking about, he’s finding out he was wrong.”

We’re guessing Johnson would bristle at the suggestion that J.C. Penney’s new apparel collections are “the cheapest made rags possible.” If anything, he’s attempted to upscale the retailer by bringing in well-known brands like Martha Stewart Living and by dedicating floorspace to boutiques featuring the likes of Levi’s and Izod.

But those fashion-forward brands apparently don’t appeal to the disgruntled shoppers who wrote to us.

An Elderly Exodus

Interestingly, most of the readers who emailed DailyFinance are older; and these customers feel the new J.C. Penney is abandoning their demographic.

“Penney’s is trying to attract a younger, hipper customer, but frankly its loyal customer base is older, heading into elderly,” writes Katherine Troyer. “The company has dropped many of the brands and clothing styles favored by older people on a budget.”

Another reader identified herself as a senior citizen and bemoaned that J.C. Penney “threw their loyal, mostly older customers out.”

Yet another ex-customer wrote in to complain that the retailer is now dominated by “edgy styles only a 16-year-old can wear.” She added that she’d taken her business to Sears (SHLD) and Kohl’s (KSS).

A Critical Darling, a Popular Failure

We did get a few favorable opinions on the new apparel.

“I’m 56 and love the clothes,” writes Meredith …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

1 Retailer's Bad Apple?

By Chris Hill, The Motley Fool

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The following video is from Friday’s Motley Fool Money roundtable discussion, in which host Chris Hill, and analysts Ron Gross, Jason Moser, and Charly Travers discuss the most influential investing stories of the week.

Shares of retailer J.C. Penney fell more than 15% earlier this week after it was revealed that Vornado Realty Trust sold 10 million shares of J.C. Penney stock. Steven Roth, the head of Vornado Realty Trust, also sits on JCP‘s Board of Directors. J.C. Penny CEO Ron Johnson has been unable to turn the company around. Does Johnson‘s prior success in leading Apple’s retail division translate to J.C. Penney? In this installment of The Motley Fool Money Radio Show, our analysts talk about the future of the embattled retailer.

J.C. Penney has been a train wreck whose comeback always seems just around the next earnings corner, but investors are beginning to doubt that CEO Ron Johnson can weave the same magic that he did at Apple. If you’re wondering whether J.C. Penney is a buy today, you’re invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool’s must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP‘s turnaround-or lack thereof. Simply click here now for instant access.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Can J.C. Penney Turn Things Around?

By Richard Saintvilus, The Motley Fool

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I thought Ron Johnson was an excellent hire when he took over as CEO of J.C. Penney . I never bought into the idea that he was the savior of retail, but I didn’t think the company needed one. J.C. Penney just needed a change. And since he was coming from Apple, I thought his winning persona was going to be one additional asset to the company. Unfortunately, one year later, investors are still waiting for that winning formula to take shape.

How much worse can things get?
Not much was expected from the fourth-quarter report. The Street was still hoping to give JCP the benefit of the doubt in some areas. However, in every aspect, the company managed to answer: “How much worse can things get?” Same-store sales, or comps, the most important retail metric that tracts sales performance of stores opened at least one year, dropped roughly 32% year over year. This was 6% worse than Street estimates.

By comparison, for the third, second, and first quarters, comps dropped 26.1%, 21.7%, and 19% respectively. Essentially, fourth-quarter comps were 10% worse than the average loss of the previous three quarters. Johnson has been unable to stop this bleeding. And the fourth-quarter loss widened to $552 million, or $2.51 per share, compared to a loss of $87 million, or $0.41 per share a year ago.

Full-year results weren’t any better. Net loss reached just under $1 billion at $985 million, or $4.49 per share, compared with a loss of $152 million last year. But excluding charges and other items related to the company’s transformation, the loss narrowed to $766 million. The company has been making significant investments to redesign its stores and increase foot traffic. It doesn’t seem as if these investments have paid off, however, with revenue plummeting 25% year over year.

Were expectations too high?
It seems reasonable to think that perhaps the Street was expecting much better performance from J.C. Penney. And if so, what was the cause of such optimism? Granted, the retail sector has been performing much better lately, especially discounters like Wal-Mart and Target. But the Street has also seen struggles from the likes of Kohl’s and Sears. And it’s not as if J.C. Penney had shown a strong record of performance.

It’s possible that the Street was looking at recent performances from Wal-Mart, which always attracts a lot of attention. It’s true that Wal-Mart did well recently, but 4% year-over-year revenue growth arrived below consensus estimates. Earnings were better than expected, but boosted by a favorable tax rate, growing 11% year over year to $1.67 per share. Still, these results were solid, given the soft macro environment. But it also underscores some missed opportunities by J.C. Penney.

Plus, Wal-Mart has an identity, which is something that J. C. Penney lacks. Customers walk into a Wal-Mart store in pursuit of getting the best possible low prices every day. Same goes for Target. While it competes with …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance