Stocks closed in the green Tuesday after an up-and-down session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) eked out a tiny gain, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) climbed about a quarter percent.
Today's stock market
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Industrials stocks extended yesterday's momentum, with the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEMKT:XLI) up 0.5%. Meanwhile, oil stocks gave back some of the past week's gains, and the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEMKT:XOP) fell 0.9%.
Target earnings miss the mark
Shares of Target fell 4.5% today despite reasonably strong fourth-quarter 2017 results from the retail giant.
Target's sales increased 10% year over year to $22.8 billion, including a 3.6% jump in comparable-store sales, and -- to be fair -- an extra week in the quarter compared to the same year-ago period. On the bottom line, that translated to adjusted earnings of $1.37 per share, above the midpoint of the company's guidance for per-share earnings of $1.30 to $1.40.
But analysts, on average, were expecting slightly higher earnings of $1.38 per share on lower revenue of $22.53 billion.
"Our fourth quarter results demonstrate the power of the significant investments we've made in our team and our business throughout 2017," added Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. "Our team's outstanding execution of Target's strategic initiatives during the year delivered strong fourth quarter traffic growth in our stores and digital channels, which drove healthy comparable sales in every one of our five core merchandise categories."
Target also told investors to expect adjusted earnings of $1.25 to $1.45 per share in the first quarter, and $5.15 to $5.45 for full-year 2018. Both ranges were roughly in line with expectations, and assume a low-single-digit increase in comparable sales.
All things considered, this was a decent quarter from Target as it works to drive sustained, profitable growth. But given the company's small bottom-line shortfall, and with shares up nearly 25% in the three months leading up to this report, it likely tempted some short-term investors to take profits off the table.
Ciena calls in a strong quarter
Meanwhile, shares of Ciena Corporation soared 10.1% after the telecommunications networking leader announced stronger-than-expected results.
Quarterly revenue climbed 4% year over year to $646.1 million, while adjusted earnings arrived at $21.9 million, or $0.15 per share. Both figures were comfortably above investors' expectations for earnings of $0.13 per share on revenue of $642 million.
Ciena CEO Gary Smith called it a "strong start" toward reaching the company's "long-term financial goals," noting "year-over-year top-line growth, continued cash generation and a strengthening balance sheet." He also expressed confidence in Ciena's plans to continue gaining market share in key geographies and customer segments, in particular through its focus on building innovative products.
For the current quarter, Ciena expects revenue of between $710 million and $740 million, the midpoint of which was slightly above average estimates calling for $720.8 million.
In short, this was a straightforward quarterly beat followed by an encouraging look ahead. It's no surprise to see Ciena Corporation stock climb in response.