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Jim Cramer: Who Needs J.C. Penney?

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On his RealMoney blog, Jim Cramer wondered if anyone really needs J.C. Penney (JCP) anymore. To give the classic retailer credit, it did rise from the dead; Cramer said he has never before seen a retailer recover from negative comparisons of 30%. It has restructured and seems ready for a comeback, but there might not be many who will greet its arrival with enthusiasm. Ironically, its very recovery proves that the world doesn’t need J.C. Penney. When its management destroyed what it was famous for–its special offers–customers left in droves. This shows that its brands had a price consumers were not willing to pay, whereas the test of a real brand is the willingness of customers to pay up for it.

If J.C. Penney were still relevant, customers would have weathered the changes, or perhaps accepted them. J.C. Penney isn’t just being bested by Amazon (AMZN), along with other “shopping mall” retailers, but is also considered to be an older person’s brand, and people in that demographic are scrimping and saving rather than spending.

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Unstoppable Biotechs 

The real test of whether an ETF is driving a sector is if the ETF holds up when its 2 biggest players declined. That is exactly what happened on Friday, and it is a reason to look forward to more strength in biotech. Amgen (AMGN) had negative data about its multiple myeloma treatment, Kyprolis. This was after the company shelled out $10.4 million to buy Onyx Therapeutics to develop this drug. Celgene (CELG), which also has a drug for multiple myeloma, also did not show the expected decline on Friday. While, Cramer thinks it would be an understandable trade to short Amgen and go long Celgene, the sector as a whole might be going upward, especially because of perceived weakness in consumer spending. Biotechs tend to do well in environments of economic weakness (even if the weakness is in the eye of the beholder).



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