J.C. Penney Co. Inc. strongly denied market rumors Tuesday that it had hired bankruptcy counsel.

This story first appeared in the October 16, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“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.


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