While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking analyst upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) fell more than 3% today after MKM Partners downgraded the retail giant from buy to neutral.
So what: Along with the downgrade, analyst Patrick McKeever lowered his price target to $63 (from $71), representing about 5% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while momentum traders might be turned off by Target's recent price weakness, McKeever's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that its data breach issues still aren't fully baked into the valuation.
Now what: According to MKM, Target's risk/reward trade-off is pretty balanced at this point. "We believe weather was a negative for much of 1Q14 and see moderate risk to our forecast for comps of (1%) and EPS of $0.73, but our checks suggest some late-quarter pickup in traffic," said McKeever. "That said, we continue to hear concerns from consumers about the late-2013 data breach and believe it continues to hurt sales and RedCard usage/signups. Target's recent hiring of Bob DeRodes as CIO and the planned shift to MasterCard chip-and-PIN technology should boost consumer and investor confidence, but some residual impact from the breach could linger through much of FY14." With the stock flirting with its 52-week lows and currently boasting a near-3% dividend yield, however, those short-term concerns might be providing patient Fools with a solid long-term opportunity.
Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.