JCPenney Shines, Amazon Slumps in Retail

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - JCPenney's ( JCP) stock was among a small handful of retail stock winners on Friday after legendary investor George Soros revealed he owns an 8% stake in the struggling retailer.

JCP shares were rising 8.4% to $16.52 just before midday on Friday.

After the market closed on Thursday, Soros Fund Management disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission 13G filing, dated April 15, that it owned 17.4 million shares, representing a 7.91% stake in the retailer's stock.

Soros seems to be either placing a long-term bet on JCP's turnaround after the company reinstated Myron "Mike" Ullman as CEO replacing Ron Johnson or he could be looking to make a profit -- at the expense of retail investors, according to TheStreet's Rocco Pendola.

Also in retail, home improvement companies Home Depot ( HD) and Lowe's ( LOW) were moving higher. Shares of Home Depot rose 0.3% to $73.61. The stock had hit a new 52-week-high earlier on Tuesday of $74.59. Lowe's stock was also up 0.2% to $37.88.

Big discount retailers including Wal-Mart ( WMT), Sears ( SHLD), Target ( TGT) and TJX Companies ( TJX), the owner of TJMaxx, Home Goods and Marshalls, were also on positive ground

The rest of the sector was generally in the red after missed GDP expectations.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that U.S. GDP increased 2.5% in the first quarter after rising 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Analysts, on average, were expecting 3% growth, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Online retail giant Amazon ( AMZN) shed more than 6% on Friday. Wall Street is becoming increasingly cautious about the stock, following mixed earnings results on Thursday, as TheStreet's Chris Ciaccia explains.

Amazon's stock was down 7% to $255.45 at last look on more than double the average daily trading volume.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

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