Shares of J.C. Penney Co. got a boost Tuesday after the struggling department store chain said a key sales barometer wasnt as bad last month as it was in August.
The company also expects to have ample cash on hand at the end of the year.
The assurances from Penneys marked the second time since late September that it said business was showing signs of improvement and tried to address worries about cash reserves. The company is seeking to calm investors who are growing pessimistic about a turnaround.
In the statement Tuesday, J.C. Penney, based in Plano, Texas, said revenue at stores opened at least a year fell 4 percent in September from a year ago. The same measure fell 9.8 percent in August.
Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailers health because it excludes the potentially distorting effect of results from stores recently opened or closed.
Penneys expects to see improving sales trends for the rest of the year and also said its online sales are strengthening.
J.C. Penney shares closed up 6 cents at $7.77 Tuesday. The stock is still off 68 percent over the past 12 months. And many analysts remained skeptical.
Local home building sees September gains
The Home Builders Association of Fort Wayne on Tuesday said there were 82 Allen County residential construction requests in September, compared with 56 permits the same month a year ago.
The average construction price was $240,471 in September, compared with $253,632 in September 2012. Year-to-date figures show 654 permits issued, compared with 529 residential building requests during the same period in 2012, a 23.6 percent increase.
Housing officials attribute the uptick to improving consumer confidence.
Biomet earnings show improvement
Biomet Inc. on Tuesday reported first fiscal quarter earnings of $31.1 million, a $62.6 million improvement from the loss of $31.5 million reported for the same three months of last year.
The Warsaw-based orthopedic devices makers first quarter ended Aug. 31.
Biomet also reported consolidated net sales of $731 million worldwide, a 3 percent increase compared to the comparable period in 2012. Artificial knee sales increased almost 4 percent, and hip sales grew by 2 percent worldwide, the company reported.
The company paid $29.5 million less in interest during the quarter because officials were able to refinance some loan and bond interest rates. Biomet paid $87.6 million in interest compared to $117.1 million during last fiscal years first quarter.
IMF warns of fallout if US defaults on debt
The International Monetary Fund cut its global outlook for this year and next as capital outflows further weaken emerging markets and warned that a U.S. government default could damage the world economy.
Growth worldwide will be 2.9 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year, the IMF said, compared with July predictions of 3.1 percent for 2013 and 3.8 percent for 2014.
It sees emerging economies growing 4.5 percent this year, 0.5 percentage point less than three months ago, as projections were reduced for China, Mexico, India and Russia.