J.C. Penney Co. Inc. strongly denied market rumors Tuesday that it had hired bankruptcy counsel.
“It is false,” said a spokeswoman. “There is no truth to the rumor.”
The company, which recently sold more than $800 million in shares to boost its liquidity, saw its stock fall 8.9 percent to $7.17 on Wall Street. Nearly 72.7 million shares traded hands, well ahead of the 32.2 million daily average for the past three months. Penney’s now has a market capitalization of $1.58 billion.
J.P. Morgan analyst Matthew Boss said in a research note that management had “a clear mind-set shift toward long-term viability” but that it’s still uncertain when the company’s sales would hit an “inflection point” and take a turn for the better.
The stock fell in what was generally a tough day in the markets as investors tried to sort out a tangled debt debate in Washington. The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group declined 1 percent, or 8.11 points, to 839.61, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 0.9 percent, or 133.25 points, to 15,168.01.