J.C. Penney, Staples: S&P Laggards

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Retailers J.C. Penney ( JCP) and Staples ( SPLS) were among the worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500 on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 lost 5.86 points, or 0.44%, to close at 1,324.80.

Shares of J.C. Penney fell 19.72% to $26.75. After Tuesday's closing bell, the department store retailer reported a first-quarter adjusted loss of $55 million, or 25 cents a share, which was wider than analysts anticipated.

J.C. Penney also said it's discontinuing its dividend and backed off of its previous GAAP earnings forecast for 2012.

The stock currently trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 10.01X; the average for broad-line retailers is 17.68X. For comparison, Macy's ( M) has a lower forward P/E of 9.72X.

Eleven of the 19 analysts who cover J.C. Penney rate it at hold. Five analysts give the stock a buy rating and three rate it at sell.

The stock has fallen nearly 24% year to date.

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Staples shares dropped 5.7% to $13.91. Before the opening bell, the office supplies retailer reported an in-line adjusted profit for the first quarter but was a bit light on the top line with revenue totaling $6.10 billion vs. Wall Street's consensus estimate of $6.18 billion.

The stock currently trades at a forward P/E of 8.6X; the average for specialty retailers is 14.9X.

Eleven of the 21 analysts who cover Staples rate it at buy. Seven analysts give the stock a hold rating and three rate it at sell.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian in New York.

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