The sell side isn't sold though with 12 of the 18 analysts covering the stock at either hold (8) or underperform (4), and the median 12-month price target at $39.50. There's definitely an argument to be made that the shares have seen an outsized benefit from Johnson's bold plan, as execution is by no means a guarantee.
Based on Thursday's close at $41.60, the shares are up 14% over the past year, hitting a 52-week high of $43.18 on Feb. 9, and the forward price-to-earnings multiple looks a bit rich at 19.4X.
Gilford Securities has a buy rating on the stock but the firm acknowledges a successful turnaround is far from a done deal.
"CEO Johnson's transformation of Penney may turn it into a profit rocket, as it was during its last runaround, when JCP soared to $87," Gilford analyst Bernard Sosnick wrote on Feb. 1. "But, it may take two or three years to develop and JCP shares appear likely to be vulnerable to a pullback before that."Getting the message out could be a difference maker, Sosnick said. "Sales might drop initially as customers adjust to the absence of promotional inducements," he said. "But a brilliant move might shorten the slide in sales as Ellen DeGeneres, acting as the spokesperson, explains on TV what Penney is doing. Investors were placated by Johnson's EPS guidance of $2.16 for 2012, but with tough comparisons in the first half and improvement later." Check out TheStreet's quote page for J.C. Penney for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more. Other companies slated to open their books include Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), Cyberonics (CYBX), E.W. Scripps (SSP), FTI Consulting (FCN), Interpublic Group (IPG), LendingTree (TREE), Mobile Mini (MINI), Newmont Mining (NEM), Pinnacle West Capital (PNW), and Washington Post (WPO).
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