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By Jason Stipp | 06-16-2011 01:54 PM

Five Growth Stories (or Lack Thereof)

Markets editor Jeremy Glaser considers growth hopes and woes at J.C. Penney, Facebook, Greece, and more.

Jason Stipp: I am Jason Stipp for Morningstar and welcome to the Friday Five.

As the economy taps on the brakes in the early summer, a lot of investors are concerned about growth. Here with me to offer five growth stories--or lack there off--is Morningstar markets editor, Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for joining me.

Jeremy Glaser: Jason thanks for having me.

Stipp: So, what do you have for the Friday Five this week.

Glaser: This week we are going to take a look at J.C. Penney, at Facebook, at Greece, inflation, and finally at Arby's.

Stipp: So the department stores seem to be having somewhat of a small recovery, anyway, but there was news about one specific department store and a new hire. What was that news this week?

Glaser: J.C. Penney made a big splash this week by hiring Ron Johnson. He was formally the head of Apple's retail stores to become their new CEO. And the market was extremely excited about this. J.C. Penney shares really shot up, almost 20% at one point, and certainly people think that he is going to be able to come in there and really refocus J.C. Penney, reinvigorate a lot of the merchandizing, a lot of ways that they are doing business, and allow them to grow at a much faster rate than they are now, and compete better with resurgent rivals such as Macy's.

I don't think it going to be that simple. I think that Mr. Johnson is a very talented executive. I think a lot of what he did in the Apple stores, like mobile checkout and having the open, bright spaces was revolutionary at the time, but that's not going to translate necessarily so well into a retail environment like J.C. Penney.

People were drawn to the Apple stores because they liked the Apple products, and they are going to need to make sure that the merchandising inside J.C. Penney is going to get people excited. Buying a new pair of underwear is not quite as exciting as buying a new computer.

So it's going to be a challenge, but it seems like the market thinks that he is up to it, and I think certainly over the next couple of years, J.C. Penney is going to see a lot of changes.

Stipp: We will have to see if he can come through for them on that front.

Facebook, obviously a big growth story; what's the story recently with Facebook and why are they in the news?

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