CINCINNATI, FEB. 8 -- Shares of Federated Department Stores Inc. jumped today amid continued speculation that the company might accept a buyout from a third party to thwart a hostile $4.2 billion offer from Campeau Corp.

Federated rose $2.50, to $59.12 1/2 a share, in active trading on the New York Stock Exchange as investors continued bidding the stock above Campeau's $47-a-share tender offer.

Federated declined to comment on reports that it had been in contact with other major retail chains and possible buyers regarding a possible acquisition or leveraged buyout of the Cincinnati-based company.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday, Federated disclosed it was considering a variety of responses to Campeau's offer, which Federated's board rejected as inadequate the day before.

Federated also had declined to accept Campeau's alternative offer, which expired Saturday, for a merger at $61 a share, or a total of about $5.46 billion.

In the filing, Federated said its possible alternatives included a recapitalization, the sale of the company, a corporate restructuring that might include the sale of major assets, or the sale of a block of stock to a friendly party.

The company has $10.5 billion in annual sales and operates about 650 stores nationwide, including Bloomingdale's, I. Magnin, Abraham and Straus, Bullock's, Filene's, Rich's, Burdines and Lazarus.

Federated has disclosed it had entered into a confidentiality agreement with Blackstone Group, the Wall Street investment firm headed by Peter G. Peterson, a member of the Federated board.

The company entered into more than a dozen such agreements with parties contacted by Federated's financial adviser, Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc., according to anonymous Wall Street sources quoted in today's Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper also quoted sources as saying that those interested in Federated included the retail chain May Department Stores Co. and the Wall Street leveraged buyout firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Gibbons, Green, Van Amerongen Ltd.

A number of analysts have speculated that Federated might be considering a leveraged buyout to take the company private as a means of thwarting Campeau.

Campeau Corp., a Toronto-based real estate developer, bought Allied Stores Corp. in December 1986 and proceeded to sell off some of Allied's holdings to help pay off debt incurred in the $3.4 billion buyout.