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Sector Update: Consumer

Consumer stocks are higher, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 gaining 0.9%. Shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 are ahead nearly 1.3%.

In company news, JC Penney ( JCP ) is up 1.5% to $14.82 a share, rising as high as $15.53 earlier after the retailer and CIT Group ( CIT ) both refuted rumors JCP was having credit problems.

JCP share slid more than 10% on Wednesday after the New York Post reported CIT was denying credit to the retailer's vendors. But in a statement this morning, JCP said the report was not true, adding it has sufficient liquidity to manage its business, expecting to finish the current quarter with around $1.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

CIT-factored merchandise represents only 4% of JCP's overall inventory, the company said.

In a separate statement, CIT also said it continues to support deliveries from JCP's suppliers, adding all of the company's key vendors continue to support JCP and are maintaining shipments.

Also, Atlantic Equities upgraded JCP shares to Overweight from Neutral, keeping its $22 price target.

In other sector news,

(+) DWA, (+7.0%) Q2 earnings of $0.26 per share are $0.08 better than analyst estimates. Revenue climbs 31.1% over year-ago levels to $213.4 million, beating the consensus view by $24.7 million.

(-) MAR, (-2.6%) Forecasts FY13 EPS in a range of $1.92 to $2.03, trailing estimates by at least $0.01 per share. Q3 earnings projected to be $0.42 to $0.46 per share, missing the Street view by $0.03. Q2 EPS matches estimates, revenue beats by $88 million.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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