Some retail stocks may make good stocking stuffers, but J.C. Penney remains a lump of coal.
Like it or not, the holiday shopping season is here. Barron's magazine has identified nine retail stocks that offer good deals for investors. Here they are: Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Macy's (M), Dillard's (DDS), Home Depot (HD), Kohl's (KSS), Chico's (CHS), Urban Outfitters (URBN), Coach (COH) and Dollar General (DG).
Not surprisingly, J.C. Penney (JCP) isn't on the list. Over the past year or so, it fired its chief executive, Mryon Ullman, then fired his replacement, Ron Johnson, and brought back Ullman. Its sales tumbled and the company made an ill-fated deal to sell items designed by Martha Stewart (MSO).
The stock has lost nearly half its value over the past year, and now it's being dropped from the S&P 500. That will lead to more selling this week as the mutual funds that track the index will have to dump it. J.C. Penney will be replaced on the S&P by Allegion, the maker of electronic security products about to be spun off by Ingersoll-Rand (IR).
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC)
start the week at record highs, and both have posted seven straight weekly gains. Despite the celebrations over the Dow surpassing 16,000 and the S&P topping 1,800, the gains last week were pretty modest. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%The Dow rose 0.6 percent, the S&P rose 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) edged up by 0.1 percent.
And this is a holiday-shortened week. Of course, the market is closed on Thanksgiving Day, and there's only a half day of trading on Friday. That means volume throughout the week will be light, and that sometimes leads to some volatility.
The private company that owns TGI Fridays may put the restaurant chain up for sale. The parent company, Carlson, is heavily invested in hotel chains, including Radisson, Park Plaza, and Country Inns & Suites.
And the movie studio Lions Gate (LGF) is catching fire. Its Hunger Games sequel, called "Catching Fire," took in more than $300 million worldwide during its debut weekend. Lions Gate shares have more than doubled in price over the past year.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.
13 Things You Shouldn't Buy on Black Friday
Money Minute: Iconic Index Drops J.C. Penney; New Records for Dow, S&P?
Black Friday is an excellent time to buy a new TV, as we predict a variety of size categories will hit their lowest price points. But don't expect the best deals to be tagged with name brands. Typically, the rock-bottom prices apply to third-tier manufacturers; brand-name TVs tend to see their best price of the year in late December as manufacturers look to clear stock before revealing 2014 models.
There's no shortage of digital camera deals around Black Friday, but premium current-generation cameras are just a few months away from being replaced by a new line of 2014 models. If you're eyeing a brand new digital SLR, we recommend waiting until after CES and into February for 2013 cameras to become "old," and thus receive aggressive discounts from retailers.
For those of you looking to get a leg up on any fitness New Year's resolutions, you should resolve to wait to buy any fitness equipment. During Black Friday weekend 2012, we listed just two Editors' Choice fitness deals, while December and January each saw more than five times that amount on a variety of gear including heart rate monitors, ab machines, ellipticals, and yoga equipment.
While we don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate a seasonal throw blanket, we don't recommend giving them as gifts this year unless you've got a stock of them in the closet from last season. Not only does holiday decor get cheaper after the holiday in question, but bedding and blankets fall to their lowest prices of the year come January and February during "White Sales," which have been a colorful tradition since the 1950s.
Perhaps better received than throw blankets, gift baskets and wine subscriptions are especially popular during the holidays. But as the giver, you'll get a better deal on specialty foods (i.e. Omaha Steak gift bundles, fruit baskets, and assorted baked goods) if you wait until December; last year we saw twice as many Editors' Choice deals close to Christmas than around Thanksgiving.
If you have your sights set on a trip to California or Florida, by all means purchase airfare around Black Friday and even closer to Christmas; last year we saw up to 50 percent off coupons from Frontier, JetBlue, and Virgin America. However, if it's an international getaway you're after, we advise you to hold off on booking your flight until the new year. Last year, we saw zero Editors' Choice airfare deals between Thanksgiving and New Year's. But in the first two months of the year, Air Canada offered the lowest base rate we'd seen for flights to Toronto; JetBlue took 80 percent off select flights to the Caribbean; and Lufthansa offered roundtrip fares to Europe for $471.