Breakout

JCPenney Enters the Death Throes Phase

Jeff Macke
Breakout

This morning, JCPenney (JCP) turned in one of the worst earnings quarters in the history of publicly held retail companies. It was that bad.

The company is spinning it as best it can, using words like "challenging" and claiming the remodeled concept stores are performing well but getting dragged down by legacy issues.

Don your protective goggles and run through the figures for yourself, if need be. All you really need to know is that JCPenney is running out of time, money and ideas. There isn't a bright side, only varying degrees of murky.

None of which means the stock is going to zero in a straight line. Down 42% in 2012 and about 75% since 2007, there's a decent amount of bad news in the name. It's a year too late to short JCPenney and a decade too late to buy.

JCPenney's stock is like a shark that jumps into your canoe. Standing up and trying to kill it on the short side brings too many other risks into play unnecessarily. Getting positive and trying to save the beast will get you torn to shreds.

For most investors, the only smart move is to keep paddling and wait for JCPenney to die.

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