J.C. Penney (JCP) Moves Higher in Pre-Market Trading

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- J.C. Penney Company Inc.  (JCP) could eliminate some of its Wednesday losses if the 3% increase in pre-market activity on Thursday is any indication.

The stock climbed to $7.60 a share from its previous close of $7.37 before the market opened on Thursday. The boost came in part from a report by Piper Jaffray, which upgraded the stock from Neutral to Overweight after what analysts felt was an overreaction to J.C. Penney's Wednesday report.

The company issued a brief release in which it said it was "pleased with its performance for the holiday period" but offered no concrete data whatsoever. The report spurred more questions than answers and sent some investors running as the stock dropped 10% on Wednesday.

Here is the J.C. Penney press release:

"JCPenney reported today that the Company is pleased with its performance for the holiday period, showing continued progress in its turnaround efforts. Customers responded well to the Company's offerings this holiday shopping season, both in store and online. JCPenney also reaffirmed its outlook for the fourth quarter of 2013, as previously set out in the Company's third quarter earnings release dated Nov. 20, 2013."

TheStreet Ratings team rates PENNEY (J C) CO as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PENNEY (J C) CO (JCP) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.12 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.36, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Multiline Retail industry and the overall market, PENNEY (J C) CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PENNEY (J C) CO is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 29.47%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -17.59% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$737.00 million or 1502.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • PENNEY (J C) CO has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PENNEY (J C) CO reported poor results of -$4.49 versus -$0.73 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 35.2% in earnings (-$6.07 versus -$4.49).

More from Markets

3 Must Reads on the Market From TheStreet's Top Columnists

3 Must Reads on the Market From TheStreet's Top Columnists

Purdue Pharma Unloads Sales Staff, Transitioning From Painkiller Focus

Purdue Pharma Unloads Sales Staff, Transitioning From Painkiller Focus

Dow Finishes Lower as Nasdaq Posts New Record

Dow Finishes Lower as Nasdaq Posts New Record

Airlines Rebuke Trump Policy of Separating Children

Airlines Rebuke Trump Policy of Separating Children

Deutsche Bank Fined $205 Million Over Currency-Trading Violations

Deutsche Bank Fined $205 Million Over Currency-Trading Violations