NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Target Corp. (TGT) are higher by 1.23% to $73.81 in mid-afternoon trading on Thursday, as retail stocks gain today following data released by the U.S. government showing retail sales for November grew the most in eight months.
For the previous month U.S. retail sales rose 0.7% compared to 0.5% for October, and higher than the 0.4% increase economists polled by MarketWatch were expecting.
U.S. stocks got a boost from the positive data today, CNBC.com reports.STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.
"Retail sales are driving things, they were very strong," Chris Gaffney, a senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management told CNBC.com.
"This movement today to me crystallizes that investors are starting to believe that the equity market can stand on its own, that it's not necessarily dependent on the Fed,' Gaffney added speaking about the Federal Reserve and worries regarding what would happen once the U.S. Central Bank starts increasing benchmark rates, CNBC.com added.
"The lower oil prices are good for the global economy. It's not good for the energy sector, down nearly 13% year to date, and that is a drag on the broader market, but lower gas prices are good for the consumer," Gaffney said.
Separately, 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 a number of strengths, 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, solid stock price performance, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- TGT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Multiline Retail industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 2.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $341.00 million to $351.00 million.
- TARGET CORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TARGET CORP reported lower earnings of $3.07 versus $4.53 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.25 versus $3.07).
- TGT's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: TGT Ratings Report