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J.C. Penney plummets, Sears sliding, Alcoa lower ahead of earnings

Time for your daily dose of trending tickers, the stocks that you're tracking as measured by Yahoo finance ticker searches:

J.C. Penney plummets on day of analyst meeting

J.C. Penney (JCP) Things were going swimmingly at J.C. Penney's analyst day right up until the company opened its mouth. The department store chain says it saw a slowdown in sales over the course of September. It now expects low single-digit same store comps, down from the prior mid-single digit forecast. What a difference a prefix makes. JCP shares were briefly halted on the news as buyers disappeared faster than store traffic. JCP now down nearly 10% as Wall Street ponders what else the company may choose to share later.

Sears Holdings (SHLD) shares are getting hammered by more than 10%. The Hoffman Estates disaster has been doing everything it can to raise money of late, including taking a loan from CEO Eddie Lampert's ESL Investments and spinning off its Canadian division. That hasn't been enough to sooth some partners, apparently. Bloomberg is reporting that at least one vendor has stopped shipping goods to Sears due to liquidity concerns. That's typically the start of a retail death spiral. Merchants that can't afford to put goods on the shelf tend not to survive for long. In fact JC Penney is about the only merchant in recent memory to survive this type of crisis of confidence. Sears shares have lost more than half their value over the last 12 months.

Alcoa (AA) down even before they kick off earnings season. Investors opting not to wait for the former Dow component to report after the bell. Shares down 2% already. If you like surprises put on some earmuffs now because I'm about to kill the suspense for the next couple weeks: in a few hours Alcoa is going to express caution regarding foreign markets. Someday that's going to stop being scary but today apparently is not that day.

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Sears shares sliding again
Alcoa shares lower ahead of earnings kick-off

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