Why Sears Holdings Hopped 15% on Friday

By Rich Smith Markets Fool.com

What happened

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Shares of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD) are up 14.6% as of 11 a.m. Friday.

So what

Sears stock jumped nearly 7% yesterday after reporting fiscal Q4 and full year earnings that were simply abysmal. True, Sears' per-share losses were less than expected, and its revenues were a bit better than expected, but the news was still pretty bad.

Quarterly revenues of $6.1 billion were down 16% from the year-ago quarter, while per-share "earnings" were actually a loss -- $5.67 per share (or more than half the stock's own price). That's as compared to a per share loss of "only" $5.44 in Q4 of 2015.

If Sears stock can react like that -- up 7% -- to numbers this bad, maybe there's nothing that can hold this stock back? Maybe all the bad news is baked into the stock already?

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At this point, what "legacy" does Sears have left? Image source: Craftsman.

Now what

Maybe. But I wouldn't bet on it. Investors may have reacted positively to Sears reporting less sales declines, and a less steep loss, than Wall Street had forecast. They may like Sears' plan to monetize its beloved Kenmore brand, just as they applauded its plan to sell the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) last month. But I really get the impression that Sears is selling off its heritage, piece by piece, at this point.

If Sears isn't the place to go to buy Craftsman tools anymore, or Kenmore appliances, then what, really, is it? The place to go to get family portraits done? That hardly sounds like a $1 billion business to me -- but that's how much Sears stock costs after today's jump in share price: nearly $1 billion in market cap.

Meanwhile, the company continues to lose money, and the analysts on Wall Street expect nothing but continued losses as far as the eye can see -- more than $20 a share in projected losses this year, more than $10 a share expected to be lost in each of 2018, 2019, 2020 ... It's hard to see how a stock, valued at less than $10 itself, can endure losses of this magnitude, year after year after year, without simply dissolving into thin air.

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Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.