It's always nice when random data seems to confirm your short-term armchair economic thesis, as today's good Target (NYSE:TGT) sales numbers seem to.

A few weeks back, I opined that a coming consumer-spending crunch was going on. I suspected that the surprising comps strength at low-end retailers betrayed a flight of citizen greenbacks to stores like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target, and that this had less to do with any particular strength of their offerings than with the fact that shoppers figure they can't afford as much expensive stuff.

Thus, today we see pricier retailers -- for example, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) and Bebe Stores (NASDAQ:BEBE) -- posting mediocre same-store sales growth, while Target surprised the Street with a strong 6.1% comps showing.

So what gives with the Target stock price? After all, Target's deadeye performance earned it a near 4% slap in the bull's-eye today, while the abovementioned apparel pikers are seeing share prices head up on their bad-ish news. (For the record, Costco (NASDAQ:COST) also sold more goods than analysts expected.)

Ah, the magic of markets, where bad news can be "priced in" ahead of time, rendering it good news when it's not so bad. (I'm dizzy too.)

Personally, I think the reaction a bit silly, but I wouldn't be much of a retail cheapskate if I didn't take a closer look at the numbers. Putting together what I consider to be a realistic, perhaps slightly sanguine, disounted cash flow (DCF) model for Target, I make out a fair current value of only about $69 a share.

That implies a slim, 10% margin of safety. That might be enough for folks who value a top dog, steady-Freddy company that is likely to weather any upcoming economic storm a bit better than its peers. But for my money, I'd wait on a bigger bargain, or look at some of the apparel retailers that have been thrown out with the Market's bathwater.

Bebe Stores and Costco are both Stock Advisor selections. Wal-Mart is an Inside Value recommendation.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson, a top-10 CAPS player, had shares of Bebe, but no positions in any other company mentioned here. See his latest CAPS blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.