J.C. Penney retreats following two downgrades

theflyonthewall.com

Shares of J.C. Penney (JCP) are dropping after research firms Citigroup and Oppenheimer both downgraded the stock in notes to investors earlier today. Citigroup analyst Deborah Weinswig cut her rating on the stock to Hold from Buy after meeting with the company's management. The analyst is now more concerned that it will take longer than expected for J.C. Penney's revenues to resume growing. While Weinswig remains upbeat about the company's long-term plans, she is less enamored with its shorter term marketing and sales plans. More specifically, the retailer's pricing and promotional strategies still haven't won over consumers, wrote the analyst, who lowered her price target on the stock to $15 from $22. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel lowered his rating on the beleaguered retailer to Perform from Outperform. Like Weinswig, Nagel remains optimistic about the company's longer term outlook, but concerned about its near-term prospects. Risks are building that could soon "disrupt or even derail" J.C. Penney's recovery, Nagel wrote. There are signs that the results of the company's current quarter may be as bad as the results of its previous quarter, he believes. Moreover, the retailer has to raise additional cash and it will take longer than previously expected for it to become profitable, added Nagel, who slashed his price target to $15 from $30. In early afternoon trading, J.C. Penney fell 45c, or 3%, to $14.50.

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