Stock Market Today: Tiffany’s Big Beat and Target’s Canada Struggles

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has gained 58 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a positive start to the stock market today. Still, investors can expect volatility ahead after the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting at about 2 p.m. EDT. Wall Street will scrutinize the update for any clues as to when the central bank will begin raising long-term interest rates that have been hovering near zero since 2009. 

Effective Federal Funds Rate Chart

Effective Federal Funds Rate data by YCharts.

Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on two stocks that should see heavy trading in today's session: Tiffany (NYSE: TIF  ) and Target (NYSE: TGT  ) .

Tiffany today posted surprisingly strong first-quarter earnings results. The jewelry retailer's sales jumped higher by 13% to $1 billion, while profit rose 50% to $0.97 a share. Wall Street was expecting just $955 million in revenue and per-share earnings of $0.78. There was a lot for investors to like in this report beyond those headline numbers: comparable-store sales improved by 8% in its Americas region, and overall profitability rose by 2 percentage points to 58.2% of sales. Tiffany's new jewelry collections are resonating with luxury shoppers around the world, giving the company confidence to raise its full-year profit outlook to $4.20 a share. The stock was up 7.4% in pre-market trading.

Target this morning booked a 14% drop in profit for its fiscal first quarter. As expected, sales ticked higher by 2% to $17 billion while adjusted earnings came in at $0.70 a share. Those results were held back by a 0.3% decline in comparable-store sales in the U.S., along with a big dip in profitability from Target's struggling Canada business. Interim CEO John Mulligan said in a press release that the company is seeing "early signs of improvement" in both those areas, but that Target will ramp up spending to put sales and profit growth back on track. The additional investments will hurt this year's earnings, which are now expected to be close to $3.75 a share, down from $3.90. Additional expenses from last year's data breach could also have a "material adverse effect" on results for this year or in future periods, the company warned. Target's stock was just above breakeven in pre-market trading.

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