J C Penney Stock Rides Retail Rally, Toy Pivot; NRG Options Stay Hot

JCP, NRG, and NVGS stocks are having a standout day

Managing Editor
Jul 13, 2017 at 3:16 PM
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U.S. stocks are slightly higher this afternoon, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen continues her congressional testimony and oil prices surge. Retailer J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), power stock NRG Energy Inc (NYSE:NRG), and energy name Navigator Holdings Ltd (NYSE:NVGS) are all enjoying breakout days. Here's a quick look at what's moving shares of JCP, NRG, and NVGS.

Toy Shops, Sector Strength Push JCP Stock Higher

J C Penney stock is up 8.4% to trade at $5.01, among the best of the S&P 500 Index (SPX), after the company announced it was opening toy shops in all of its stores. In addition, an upbeat forecast from rival Target is boosting retail stocks across the board. This is welcome news for JCP stock, which has been trading near all-time lows since mid-May. While the shares are still down nearly 40% year-to-date, JCP stock is on pace to end atop its 50-day moving average for the first time since December.

Short sellers are likely feeling the heat today. Over 41% of J C Penney's total available float is short, and would take nearly six sessions to buy back, at JCP stock's average daily trading volume. 

Options Frenzy For Rallying NRG Stock

NRG stock is up 8% to trade at $22.77, and just snagged a nearly two-year high of $23.36, after Barclays raised its price target to $27 from $20. The brokerage firm applauded NRG Energy's transformation plan -- which sent NRG stock gapping higher yesterday -- and said if the plans is executed, it could "lead to potential upside beyond our target." It's been a stellar year for NRG shares, which have nearly doubled in the past nine months. 

Diving into the options pit, there is a swarm of activity around NRG stock. Option volume touched an annual high yesterday, and NRG contracts today are trading at nine times the average intraday pace, with over 60,000 exchanged. While call open interest is already at an annual high for NRG, puts are the options of choice today, with roughly 35,000 contracts exchanged -- 28 times the norm.

Navigator Stock Soaring After Two-Month Lull

Navigator Holdings stock is up 33% to trade at $11.30 -- the best on the Nasdaq -- as traders cheer the company's plans to develop an ethylene export terminal on the Houston Ship Channel. The shares are poised to settle above their 200-day moving average for the first time since May, and are now more than 20% higher year-to-date. Several short sellers could be kicking rocks today, too. Short interest grew 30% in the past two reporting periods, and now represents more than six sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at NRGS stock's average daily trading volume.

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