NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of J.C. Penney (JCP) are up by 0.50% to $8.08 in pre-market trading on Friday morning, following a ratings upgrade to "market perform" from "underperform" at BMO Capital Markets.
The firm said it raised its rating on the department store retailer based on growing confidence that the company's management will be able to reach its 2017 EBITDA goal of $1.2 billion. BMO analysts also say they are less concerned about liquidity.
BMO Capital increased its price target on J.C. Penney to $8 from $7.
"Management has demonstrated significant gross margin rate improvement from 2012 to 2014 (31.31% vs 34.76%), and the 1Q15 results (+338bp) give us growing confidence the company can reach its targeted GM rate increase of 100bp to 150bp in 2015 (BMO 35.98%) with potential for further improvement beyond 2015 to 37%-39%," BMO said in an analyst note.
Separately, 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 a few notable 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 generally high debt management risk and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."