J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding Company (NYSE:JCP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “The impact of challenging retail landscape, stiff competition from online retailers and waning store traffic is clearly visible on J. C. Penney’s shares performance that have underperformed the industry in a year. The company has been grappling with dismal comparable sales over the past few quarters. Further, the company’s higher debt level also raises a concern. Nevertheless, in an effort to lure customers and ramp up sales, management has introduced a new loyalty program. These along with remodeling, renovation and refurbishment of stores with special attention on enhancing the reach of national and especially private-label brands looks promising. J. C. Penney is also gradually increasing the count of Sephora stores which is going great business. Of late, estimates have been stable ahead of the company’s third quarter earnings release.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the stock. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating and set a $5.00 price target on shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding in a research report on Friday, June 16th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $4.00 price target on shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding in a research report on Thursday, September 14th. Citigroup Inc. upped their price target on shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding from $4.50 to $5.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. BMO Capital Markets set a $6.00 price target on shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, July 10th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $5.00 price target (down previously from $6.50) on shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding in a research report on Monday, August 14th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating, four have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $5.80.

Shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding (NYSE:JCP) traded down 1.69% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $3.48. 12,857,149 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The firm’s market cap is $1.08 billion. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding has a 12 month low of $3.45 and a 12 month high of $10.74. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $3.89 and a 200 day moving average price of $4.74.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding (NYSE:JCP) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, August 11th. The department store operator reported ($0.09) EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.06) by ($0.03). J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding had a negative net margin of 0.94% and a positive return on equity of 10.55%. The business had revenue of $2.96 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.84 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned ($0.05) EPS. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding will post $0.43 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, CFO Jeffrey A. Davis bought 50,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 22nd. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $3.62 per share, for a total transaction of $181,000.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 72,645 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $262,974.90. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Javier G. Teruel bought 135,135 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 22nd. The shares were purchased at an average price of $3.64 per share, with a total value of $491,891.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 518,970 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,889,050.80. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have bought a total of 310,135 shares of company stock valued at $1,111,391 over the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.02% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. boosted its position in shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding by 33.6% during the 1st quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 16,721 shares of the department store operator’s stock valued at $103,000 after acquiring an additional 4,205 shares during the last quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC bought a new position in shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $117,000. Tudor Investment Corp ET AL boosted its position in shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding by 12.8% during the 1st quarter. Tudor Investment Corp ET AL now owns 22,900 shares of the department store operator’s stock valued at $141,000 after acquiring an additional 2,600 shares during the last quarter. First Financial Equity Corporation bought a new position in shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $165,000. Finally, FNY Partners Fund LP bought a new position in shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $188,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.96% of the company’s stock.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding Company Profile

J. C. Penney Company, Inc is a holding company. The Company’s business consists of selling merchandise and services to consumers through its department stores and its Website at jcpenney.com. Its department stores and Website generally serve the same type of customers, its Website offers virtually the same mix of merchandise as its store assortment and other categories, and its department stores generally accept returns from sales made in stores and through its Website.

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Analyst Recommendations for J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding (NYSE:JCP)

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