Market Preview: Pressed for Time
As for Thursday's scheduled news, Target(TGT) is slated to report its third-quarter results before the opening bell, and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a profit of 77 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $16.92 billion.
Shares of the Minneapolis-based retailer closed Wedneday at $61.38, up nearly 20% so far in 2012. JPMorgan sees more upside from here though. The firm upgraded Target to overweight on Monday and lifted its price target to $76 from $66.
Overall, the sell side is mostly optimistic with 15 of the 23 analysts covering Target at either strong buy (5) or buy (10) with the 12-month median price target sitting at $71.
Also reporting before the open is Target rival Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) , the world's largest retailer. Wall Street is expecting earnings of $1.07 a share on revenue of $115 billion from the Bentonville, Ark.-based behemoth, which has topped the consensus view in six of the past eight quarters.
Meantime, Dell(DELL) is the big name after Thursday's closing bell with analysts expecting a profit of 40 cents a share in the PC maker's third quarter on revenue of $13.89 billion.
Sterne Agee previewed the numbers on Tuesday, and while it's not expecting a Cisco-like blowout performance, the firm sees some potential for a bounce in Dell's stock, which is down nearly 35% in 2012.
"Our supply chain checks unsurprisingly indicate that its core PC business remains under pressure from a tough macro and cannibalization from iOS and Android," the firm said. "However, given low expectations, we expect results to be in-line or better. For its outlook, it is a similar story with low expectations. Because of this, we would not be surprised to see a near-term rally in DELL shares though our longer-term concerns remain."
UBS weighed in as well, saying it expects the PC business to get worse before it gets better. The firm has a neutral rating on Dell with a $10 price target.
"We expect Dell to face pressure from tablet cannibalization, a cautious Windows 8 transition, and softening IT budgets," UBS said, adding later: "Dell's expense ratio probably will deteriorate from last year given revenue weakness."