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J.C. Penney Survival Guide

The financials may look ugly, but I don't believe the New York Post's sources have a lot of credibility. Unfortunately for investors, J.C. Penney has bigger problems than short-term liquidity issues.

Failing companies have a hard time recruiting quality leaders. After long delays in finding a marketing executive, J.C. Penney finally just announced Debra Berman is the new chief marketing officer. Berman comes from Kraft Foods (KRFT), and Tuesday's stock price drop is Wall Street announcing its displeasure with J.C. Penney's hire. Recently, shares fell nearly 5% to around $13.

Investors are concerned J.C. Penney's financial troubles may be more dire than previously known. The reasoning is that Berman "isn't the right person for the job, but no one more qualified would take the job." Berman will have her chance to prove skeptics wrong but for now, the market is betting her marketing skill set won't transfer over well.

What can you do to protect your portfolio? As I mentioned above, expect further share price pressure in the near term, but if you held this long it's probably not the best time to throw in the towel.

Once the market figures out vendor credits are not turned off and merchandise is flowing, we can expect the shares to stabilize.

Shareholders can also use the increased volatility to receive greater premiums from selling covered calls. For example, the $20 strike November calls are trading for about 30 cents.

If you're going to hold your shares regardless, you might as well sell premium and get paid to wait it out. You will lower your overall risk, and if the shares do climb above the strike, simply buy the options back with your stock gains.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Robert Weinstein is an active trader focusing on the psychological importance of risk mitigation, emotion and financial behavior of market participants. Robert co-founded the investing blog StockSaints, where he writes a journal about his trading activity and experiences.

In addition to TheStreet, Robert also contributes to Real Money Pro, providing real-time trading ideas for stocks, options and futures.
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