MOODY'S HIKES PENNEY'S RATING

NEW YORK--Moody's Investors Service raised the long-term debt ratings of J.C. Penney Co. to A1 from A2, affecting about $2.2 billion of debt.
Moody's said the upgrade reflects its expectation that Penney's will maintain its strong financial performance and manage its balance sheet and cash flow conservatively.
While Penney faces increasing competition and might increase risk by intensifying its private label focus and international expansion, Moody's said the retailer's improved merchandising focus, private label product development expertise and commitment to financial strength "will enable it to maintain its improved performance over the long term."
--Fairchild News Service

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