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Target (TGT) Says Encrypted PINs Were Stolen

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Target (TGT) announced Friday that encrypted debit card PINs were stolen along with debit and credit card numbers in the cyber attack earlier in December. The retailer is confident the information is "safe and secure," however.

Shares of Target were dropping 0.6% to $62.10.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company is "confident" in the security of customer's PINs. "The PIN information was full encrypted at the keypad, remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from out systems."

In addition to the encrypted PINs those responsible for the cyber attack have customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates, and codes embedded in credit card magnetic strips from about 40 million cards used at Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

TheStreet Ratings team rates TARGET CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate TARGET CORP (TGT) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • TGT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.9%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.92, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels.
  • TARGET CORP's earnings per share declined by 43.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TARGET CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.53 versus $4.29 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 20.0% in earnings ($3.63 versus $4.53).
  • In its most recent trading session, TGT has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Multiline Retail industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TARGET CORP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.

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