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J.C. Penney Getting Some Respect

JC Penney
JC Penney

J.C. Penney shares have jumped more than 50 percent since bottoming in July, a sign that much of investors’ negative sentiment about the retailer has begun to evaporate, one analyst says.

“What we’ve seen over the last few weeks or so is incrementally, increasingly positive data points from J.C. Penney as they continue to remodel these stores,” Brian Nagel, a senior research analyst at Oppenheimer, told CNBC’s "Squawk on the Street."

Penney’s stock surged on Wednesday after Chief Executive Ron Johnson said the company’s new brand-specific shops — which Walt Disney announced on Wednesday that it would participate in — within its stores had posted a 20 percent jump in sales compared to elsewhere within the store.

But investors pared their enthusiasm and shares erased as Johnson’s presentation continued.

“The last two weeks have been much tougher than we planned,” Johnson added. In response, the company’s stock fell back to trade flat on the day.

Still, Nagel said the company has done well merchandising and creating an inviting shopping experience in its remolded stores, which he said would be key as it tries to gain market share. Nagel has an “outperform” rating and a $30 price target on the company’s shares.

As investors’ negative sentiment begins to evaporate, Nagel said investors have probably started to cover their shorts.

“What I don’t get the sense yet is that investors have really started to take the really big, sizeable long positions in J.C. Penney,” he said. “So I look at that as a positive because I think as the story continues to come together, you’re going to have investors not only covering shorts and becoming less negative but actually start to build positions in the stock and I think that’s what will take us to the next level.”

—By CNBC.com's Katie Little; Follow Her on Twitter@katie_little. Reuters contributed to this article.

Additional News: Amid Economic Gloom, Retailers Remain Upbeat

Additional Views: J.C. Penney—A Little Math Tempers Enthusiasm

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Disclosures:

Brian Nagel does not own shares of J.C. Penney.

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