J. C. Penney Sent to the Market Doghouse

As expected, GDP was revised higher for the fourth quarter, and it shows that the economy grew 0.1% instead of shrinking 0.1% as earlier estimates said. This, combined with a 22,000-person drop in initial unemployment claims to 344,000 and the first increase in consumer debt in four years, has stock markets moving higher today despite the pending sequester. As of 3:25 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 0.24%, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up 0.31%.

DuPont (NYSE: DD  ) is one of the big winners today, climbing 1%. The company's vice president of research said the company may be able to increase wheat yield by 20% with hybrid wheat technology, which is now in the company's development pipeline. DuPont is the world's second-largest seed maker, and wheat is the most planted crop, so this could be big for the company in the long term.

AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon both jumped 1% after prepaid operator Leap Wireless reported terrible fourth-quarter results. Consumers don't seem interested in paying large upfront costs to buy cellphones, even if there are lower costs on the back end. This bodes well for AT&T and Verizon, which offer subsidies on devices in order to rope subscribers into lucrative contracts. The competitive moat around these companies seems to keep getting bigger, and there's little chance anyone will be able to catch up.

In the market's doghouse today sits J. C. Penney (NYSE: JCP  ) , the retailer that can't seem to do anything right. The company saw same-store sales fall 32% and reported a $2.51 per-share loss for the quarter. The stock has fallen 17% today, and it's unclear whether J. C. Penney will be able to turn things around and survive much longer.

J. C. Penney has been a train wreck whose comeback always seems just around the next earnings corner, but people are beginning to doubt if CEO Ron Johnson can weave the same magic that he did at Apple. Investors wondering whether J. C. Penney is a buy today are invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool's must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP's turnaround -- or lack thereof -- and as a bonus, you'll receive a full year of expert guidance and updates as key news develops. Simply click here now for instant access.

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  • Report this Comment On February 28, 2013, at 6:43 PM, funfundvierzig wrote:

    Nothing on the Shelves Today, But Just You Wait a Decade or So!


    The inflated pipeline promises from DuPont's posturing bosses in the past couple of days is more than amusing; they are downright risible.

    Take for example, Ms. Kullman's hired hand down on the farm, Executive V. P. James Borel, who bragged bombastically about DuPont's R & D on wheat. Sounds good, doesn't it? Trouble is this exercise of improving wheat grains is off, way off in the distant future.

    DuPont Vice President of Research, John Soper, got up in his soap box with the media following Borel's bombast, and had to admit the first commercial wheat product is not expected for "a decade or so". "Or so"? So you have more vague PR hype from the lagging agricultural outfit with little new on the shelves for sale to farmers today.

    We strongly suspect, folks, that DuPont's superior-managed, laser-focussed competitors, Monsanto, BASF, and Syngenta will have genuine and superb GM wheat traits in fields long before 2023 "or so". The mediocre Kullman TEAM would be far better off putting those tens of $millions squandered on PR hoopla and coddling the media and Wall Street into legitimate research and development.

    Merely the comments and opining of one individual investor and long-time student of the lumbering and lagging, PR-driven DuPont Company...funfun..

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S&P 500 INDEX CAPS Rating: No stars
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