U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 28 mins

J.C. Penney climbs after REIT speculation, Joe Fresh launch

J.C. Penney (JCP) is advancing after one research firm said the company could covert its top 300 locations into a real estate investment trust and another praised the retailer's new Joe Fresh stores. In a note to investors earlier today, ISI Group analyst Omar Saad wrote that the retailer may decide to maximize shareholder value by converting its 300 top locations into a real estate investment trust, or REIT. The company could sublet space at the 300 locations to other retailers, Saad explained, estimating that such an arrangement could generate at least $1.2B of rental income and lift the company's stock to about $46. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel visited a few of the company's Joe Fresh shops in New York and New Jersey over the weekend and said he was "impressed" by what he saw. The Joe Fresh merchandise is "compelling" and "well-priced" and the shop-in-shops look to be a new bright spot in J.C. Penney's story, the analyst wrote. Nevertheless, Nagel believes that the retailer won't rebound for some time and that it is facing many near-term risks. He maintained a Perform rating on the shares, which surged $1.13, or 7.3%, to $16.61 in mid-morning trading.