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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
May 20, 2014
12:52 EDTTGTEarnings Preview: Target taking 'significant actions' to strengthen security
Target (TGT) is scheduled to report first quarter results before the market open on Wednesday, May 21, with a conference call scheduled for 10:30 am ET. Target offers merchandise at discounted prices through its retail stores and online business. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of 71c on revenue of $17.01B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 57c-78c on revenue of $16.84B-$17.21B. LAST QUARTER: Target reported fourth quarter adjusted EPS of $1.30 on revenue of $21.52B, against estimates for 79c and $21.45B, respectively. GAAP EPS for the quarter was 81c. The company provided guidance for Q1 adjusted EPS of 60c-75c, which excludes approximately (2c) related to the expected reduction of the beneficial interest asset, as well as any net expenses related to the data breach. For fiscal year 2014, Target forecast adjusted EPS of $3.85-$4.15, excluding (7c) related to the expected reduction of the beneficial interest asset, as well as any net expenses related to the data breach. The consensus at the time of the Q4 earnings release was $4.15. Target was unable to estimate future expenses related to the data breach, but said costs may have a "material adverse effect" on Q1 and FY14 results. The company said results "meaningfully softened" following the announcement of the data breach. NEWS: On May 5, Chief Executive Officer Greg Steinhafel said he would step down, effective immediately. Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan was appointed as interim president and CEO. The company commented that "Now is the right time for new leadership at Target." Steinhafel will serve in advisory capacity during this transition. Roxanne Austin was appointed as non-interim chairman of the board. Rumored CEO candidates are said to include: HSN Inc. (HSNI) CEO Mindy Grossman, Bon-Ton Stores (BONT) CEO Brendan Hoffman, Gap's (GPS) leader Glenn Murphy and Victoria’s Secret (LB) CEO Sharen Turney. Mulligan, who does not intend to become the company's permanent CEO, said the retailer is working fast to fix issues that persisted under the former CEO Gregg Steinhafel, and stressed the need for speed to improve sales and online operations. Also during the quarter, Target appointed Bob DeRodes as Chief Information Officer, responsible for oversight of the Target technology team and operations, with responsibility for the ongoing data security enhancement efforts as well as the development of Target’s long-term information technology and digital roadmap. Target also shared that there has been an active investigation since the initial confirmation of the data breach, and the company said it has taken significant actions to strengthen security across the network. Target said that beginning in early 2015, the entire REDcard portfolio, including all Target-branded credit and debit cards, will be enabled with MasterCard’s (MA) chip-and-PIN solution. The company is continuing its active search for a chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer. Target and Visa (V) said fraud has been limited following the data breach. Target's credit rating cut to A from A+ by S&P in March. Most recently, Target named Mark Schindele as president of Target Canada, replacing Tony Fisher to further the company's efforts to improve its Canadian operations. The timing of this change is unrelated to the Q1 results, the company said. STREET RESEARCH: Sterne Agee wrote that Steinhafel's departure would be positive for the company over the longer term., but Baird said that the change could be viewed as setting Target on course for an eventual recovery, the move probably increases the uncertainty facing the company. Wells Fargo said that the CEO's resignation suggests that the company's financial performance has come under pressure recently, partly due to the credit card breach and its weak performance in Canada. However, in the longer-term the move could help the company by bringing someone with a new perspective to the position. PRICE ACTION: Target shares are up fractionally over the past three months. In mid-day trading ahead of tomorrow's earnings report, shares are down over 2% at $56.90.
News For TGT From The Last 14 Days
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July 18, 2014
18:12 EDTTGTVisa, MasterCard denied bid to dismiss opt-out swipe fee suits, Bloomberg says
Merchants that opted out of the swipe-fee settlement brought their own suits, which Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) were not approved to dismiss, Bloomberg reports. Merchants such as Target (TGT) and Macy’s (M) pursued their cases after dropping out of an earlier settlement over swipe fees, Bloomberg added. Reference Link

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