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WWD stock index Rises 0.8%

NEW YORK — For a second week, investors were more keen to dump shares as several companies from a variety of sectors warned that fourth-quarter profits would come in lower than originally forecast.<BR><BR>But in the retail and apparel segments,...

NEW YORK — For a second week, investors were more keen to dump shares as several companies from a variety of sectors warned that fourth-quarter profits would come in lower than originally forecast.

But in the retail and apparel segments, this bearishness was not as prevalent. As a result, the WWD Composite Stock Index showed a 0.8 percent gain, rising to 1,163.31 for the week while the S&P 500 declined 0.1 percent to 1,184.52.

Of note was J.C. Penney, which closed the week up 4.3 percent to $42.51 on Friday. On Thursday, the retailer’s new chairman and chief executive officer, Myron Ullman, met with investors and reporters at a luncheon hosted by Citigroup Smith Barney. Those who attended said they were impressed with Ullman’s take on Penney’s market position and potential.

Deborah Weinswig, equity analyst at Smith Barney, said Ullman’s presentation showed “honesty, competency and enthusiasm with regard to leading J.C. Penney into its next era.

“Although strategic discussion was broad, Mr. Ullman noted that his long-range goals include entrenching J.C. Penney as the most compelling shopping destination in its target customer’s mind and competing in the top quartile of the industry [in the 8 to 10.5 percent pretax earnings range] in terms of performance,” Weinswig explained in a research note to investors.

Ullman is expected to give a “detailed strategic vision” for the retailer in April.

Speaking of strategic vision, Emanuel Weintraub, of the management consulting firm that bears his name, is hosting a seminar on Feb. 1 with the American Apparel & Footwear Association, titled “Operating in a World Without Quotas.”

Weintraub pulled together some heavy hitters for this seminar: Wilbur Ross, chairman of International Textile Group; Peter Boneparth, president and ceo of Jones Apparel Group and Robert Zane, senior vice president of sourcing, distribution and logistics at Liz Claiborne Inc. are among the speakers scheduled to discuss “this new worldwide environment where shopping or paying for quota is no longer required,” the organizers of the event said in a statement.

Weintraub and the AAFA usually pack the Princeton Club here with attendees. For more information, call the AAFA at 703-522-9047. “I think this is a popular topic and it will be a great, electric day,” Weintraub said.

This story first appeared in the January 18, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.