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JC Penney Shares Dive on Liquidity Fears; GDP Disappoints


The budget debate in Congress grows heated as the eleventh hour approaches.

Stock futures advanced slightly this morning as global markets brace for a heated budget battle in Congress and US GDP came in lower than expected.

After five consecutive days of losses, stock futures are higher this morning. Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.16% at 15,235. After its longest losing streak this year, futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.18% to 1,688.90. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures rose 0.43% to 3,213.75.

Initial jobless claims were fewer than expected last week. The total level of claims fell by 5,000 to 305,000. The final revision of second quarter GDP was unchanged from the previous one at 2.5% annual growth. Economists predicted that it would be revised up to 2.7%.

Later today, the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index is expected to show a 1% decline in pending sales in August.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) shares hit a 13-year low yesterday after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) analysts raised questions about the retailer's liquidity. The stock fell 14.96% yesterday and shares continued to tumble 7.5% in the pre-market on Thursday. Goldman also said that third and fourth quarter sales will show a slower-than-expected improvement and warned of "a poor holiday season that the company can ill afford." The company is reportedly looking to raise up to $1 billion by selling new shares.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) shares jumped 5.9% in the pre-market after reporting better-than-expected second quarter results. The company raised its full-year sales and earnings expectations. The retailer has benefited from a

Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR) fell 5.6% after the casino operator announced that it will sell 10 million new shares. The company has $23.5 billion in debt.

Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE:HTZ) shares plunged 11% in the pre-market after the company cut its full-year profit and revenue forecast on lower volume of car rentals.

Fears of a US government shutdown persist as Congress remains at an impasse over a stopgap measure that would only keep the government funded through mid-December. Macroeconomic Advisors predicts that if a two-week shutdown happens in October, it will result in a 0.3 percentage point reduction in fourth quarter GDP. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said yesterday that emergency funding measures to keep the government paying its obligations after hitting the statutory debt ceiling will run out on Oct. 17.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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