The Exchange

Sears Holdings Surges on Spinoff Plan

Coming in to Tuesday's trading session, Sears Holdings (SHLD) was already the best performer on the S&P 500 since the end of 2011. Now it's even better, starting May with a big 13% surge that was taking it past $61 a share.

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Ed Lampert's retail chain says it's looking at a first-quarter profit and planning to spin off some of its operations into a company that will be known as Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. That was driving substantial buying interest and putting volume on pace to significantly exceed the normal activity of the past three months. Roughly an hour after the opening bell, 1.8 million shares had already traded, compared with 1.5 million for a full session on an ordinary day.

As of the end of April, Sears was already up 69.2% from Dec. 30. That was outpacing its closest competitors on the S&P, Fossil (FOSL), up 64.7%, and Priceline.com (PCLN), which has a gain of 62.7%.

For the record, the worst stock on the index in the past four months is First Solar (FSLR), down 45.5%, according to FactSet data. Apollo Group (APOL) follows with a 34.6% decline, then Supervalu (SVU), which has dropped 26.8%.

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