J.C. Penney (JCP) surged Friday after the struggling retailer announced plans to slash up to a third of its $5 billion in pension obligations. The company plans to do so through lump sum payments and early retirement offers. Stocks reversed earlier losses tied to a disappointing jobs report to close sharply higher. Rallies in the energy and biotech sector helped to overshadow earlier weakness. Crude oil closed higher for the day after the number of active oil rigs in the U.S. fell by 26 to 614 over the past week. West Texas Intermediate closed above $45 a barrel. The increase in oil prices boosted the energy sector. Among the top performers, Exxon Mobil (XOM) added 2.5%, Shell (RDS.A) climbed nearly $2 a share, Chevron (CVX) closed up 4%, and BP (BP) rose 5%.
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