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.
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