NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Today the investment community is doing what Jim Cramer calls "schnitzeling" when it comes to Target (TGT), a company I've written about in recent months. "Schnitzeling," loosely translated, means buying some shares in anticipation of some inevitable news -- in this case TGT's earnings release Wednesday.The thesis here could be titled, "Anything Wal-Mart ( WMT) Can Do, I Can Do Better." TGT's last reporting quarter showed a trailing 12-month (TTM) operating margin of 7.3% and a profit margin of 4.2%. WMT in its last quarter had TTM operating margin of 5.93% and a profit margin of 3.62 %. Both TGT and WMT have nearly the same dividend yield, and the return on equity (TTM) "score" was WMT, 22.42% versus TGT's 19.10%. It's been fun to watch, listen and learn from the conference calls and earnings reports of these two titans of big-box-store merchandising. Both companies have remarkable leadership and enviable track records including a share-holder friendly attitude. TGT's one-year price movement including the $1.20 uptick earlier Tuesday is relatively impressive, especially when you look back at its trailing 12-month revenue-per-share history, as you'll see on the chart below. TGT data by YCharts
After Home Depot's ( HD) blow-out earnings report before the market opened Tuesday followed by its nearly 6% price-per-share pop, optimism is running high for Target's earnings results. Make smarter trading decisions and provide investment ideas that could help make you richer. Bryan Ashenberg does the dirty work so you don't have to! Can TGT meet or beat analysts' estimates for last quarter? The answer to that question is a multi-million-dollar reaction waiting to unfold Wednesday. When it comes to earnings per share, analysts estimate the increase will be a realistic 3.5%, which is higher than the estimate for the quarter we're currently in. TGT's management will give forward guidance that investors will be eager to hear. Sales growth (revenue) is expected to have moved 6.5% higher to almost $22.7 billion for the quarter. The company has been guiding lower concerning the last quarter of 2012 with shoppers still dangling from the "fiscal cliff" at that point.
If TGT's quarterly revenue report looks similar to WMT's (as seen in the chart above), its share price may hold or even rally higher. Don't let Tuesday's market action on TGT be your only guide on where the price of the shares will be by Friday. Prudent investors will be listening carefully before the markets open on Wednesday and digesting the many metrics that TGT will divulge. The results may be opportunistic. At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @m8a2r1 This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust -- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.