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US Retail Stocks Mark Strong 1Q, With Strength Seen Continuing

By Karen Talley Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Retail stocks began 2012 with a head of steam that continued throughout the quarter, with many posting record or multi-year highs during the period, amid sentiment that the gains can continue. For the first quarter, which ends at the close of trading, the Standard & Poor's Retail Index has risen 101 points, or 19%, with the percentage rise representing its best gain since the second quarter of 2003. The move outpaces that of the broader market, with the S&P 500 up 12% so far in the first quarter. Sentiment about an improving economy helped to fuel retail stocks' gains, as did rather decent earnings these companies turned in during the period. Retailers with the biggest gains during the quarter include Gap Inc. (GPS) and Aeropostale Inc. (ARO), both up 42%; Chico's FAS Inc. (CHS) up 36%; Macy's Inc. (M), up 24%; Saks Inc. (SKS) up 21%; and Target Corp. (TGT) up 14%. Target was also among stocks that hit multi-year highs during the first quarter. Others include Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), Nordstrom Inc. (JWN), Coach Inc. (COH), Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) and Lowe's Cos. (LOW). While some of the easier gains have already been made, there is opportunity for further advances by retail stocks if the economy cooperates, analysts said. "The environment is still slowly getting better for retailers," said David Abella, portfolio manager at Rochdale Investment Management. "They were able to have pretty strong sales when the economy was weaker, so it stands to reason if the economy improves they should do even better." Still, the big unknown is how gasoline prices act. If prices continue to climb, lower-end retailers may lose out. Abella cited Kohl's Corp. (KSS), J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), Wal-Mart and Target as retailers that could be pinched by high gasoline prices. -By Karen Talley, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2196; karen.talley@dowjones.com

Stock News for Jc Penney (JCP)
DateTimeHeadline
12/05/201616:43:53Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
12/05/201616:42:23Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
12/01/201608:30:28JCPENNEY.COM DELIVERS A WONDERLAND OF UNEXPECTED GIFTS
11/30/201617:17:55Quarterly Report (10-q)
11/25/201603:02:00Black Friday Push Gets an Early Start -- WSJ
11/24/201620:19:00Retailers Push Early Start to Black Friday Sales -- 2nd Update
11/24/201617:24:00Retailers Push Early Start to Black Friday Sales -- Update
11/24/201608:29:00Retailers Push Early Start to Black Friday Sales
11/23/201603:02:00Big-Name Brands Go to War Over Department Store Sales -- WSJ
11/22/201613:00:00Correction to Holiday Shopping Article
11/22/201611:29:00Retailers Find More Brands Want Out of Sales Promotions
11/21/201616:57:36Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
11/18/201617:37:20Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
11/16/201603:02:00Retail Signals Strength As the Holidays Loom -- WSJ
11/16/201600:48:00Shoppers Ramp Up Spending Ahead of Key Holiday Shopping Season...
11/15/201614:31:00Shoppers Ramp Up Spending Ahead of Key Holiday Shopping Season...
11/15/201612:50:00Shoppers Ramp Up Spending Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season
11/15/201611:40:00Shoppers Ramp Up Spending Ahead of Key Holiday Shopping Season
11/11/201610:10:00J.C. Penney Reports Surprising Sales Decline
11/11/201607:30:30JCPENNEY REPORTS A $39 MILLION INCREASE IN OPERATING INCOME FOR...

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