U.S. Markets closed

Sears shares jump after CEO raises personal stake

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sears Holdings Corp. shares jumped Tuesday after its CEO disclosed that he bought 1.24 million shares of the retailer's common stock from an investment fund he controls, boosting his personal stake in the company.

THE SPARK: Hedge fund billionaire Edward Lampert, who serves as chairman and CEO, on Monday bought the shares from his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., with about $55 million of his private funds, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

THE BIG PICTURE: The purchase shows support for Sears, which operates both Sears and Kmart stores. The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company has struggled to remain relevant to consumers in recent years and has seen its stock price tumble.

Since peaking in April 2007, Sears shares have lost about 77 percent of their value. In just the past year, the shares have dropped about 40 percent.

The company has posted six straight years of declines in revenue at stores opened at least a year. While Sears shoppers have been hit hard by economic woes, critics have long said that the company hasn't done enough to compete with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and others.

Lampert was named as CEO in January, replacing Louis D'Ambrosio, who left because of family health matters. Lampert engineered the combination of Sears and Kmart in 2005, about two years after he helped bring Kmart out of bankruptcy.

THE SHARES: Up $3.13, or 7 percent, to $47.30 in morning trading, after peaking at $47.47. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $38.40 and $85.90.