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Sears shares continue their rally, jumping more than 17 percent

Krystina Gustafson

Sears (SHLD) stock continued to rocket higher on Friday, a day after the struggling department store reported a narrower fiscal fourth-quarter loss than the same period a year earlier.

Shares of the chain surged more than 17 percent in heavy trading, leading the S&P Retail Index higher and pushing the company's stock back into positive territory for 2017. Shares had tumbled earlier this year, at one point losing 30 percent of their value in four days, after the retailer outlined plans to close 150 stores and lay off employees at remaining locations.

The stock closed the day up more than 15 percent, holding right above $9.

Though Sears on Thursday reported another quarterly loss, its results were an improvement over the prior-year period. The company lost an adjusted $1.28 per share during the fiscal fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $1.70 a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the company outlined plans to use some of the proceeds from its asset sales to fund payments to its pension plan.

To stay afloat, Sears has been tapping into CEO Eddie Lampert's piggy bank and monetizing its real estate. It also recently sold its Craftsman brand.

"In our view this is little more than a short-term survival tactic, where funds raised are used to prop up a failing business rather than generate long-term growth," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told investors Thursday.

Despite its financial maneuvers and a leaner cost structure, Sears revenue loss accelerated from a year ago. Sales slid 17 percent during the holiday period, compared with a 10 percent drop a year earlier.

While the company ended the quarter with no short-term borrowings, its total long-term debt nearly doubled from the prior year.

Even with Friday's gains, Sears shares have lost more than 44 percent of their value over the past year.

Watch: Sears soars on restructuring plan