On Wednesday, Target (NYSE:TGT) got off to a hot start. Even though the overall market was sluggish on the day, Target stock held all of its 9% gains after better-than-expected earnings results. That got me thinking: After falling into a bear market in the fourth quarter of 2018, this name may finally be ready for more upside.
Why? Well, let’s not waste any time. Let’s look at a few reasons right now.
Target vs. Amazon
Not all customers are ditching bricks-and-mortar retail and going to e-commerce and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). While the latter two certainly has secular growth behind it and the former is being forced to adapt or die, traditional retailers aren’t standing still.
Target is overhauling its omni-channel efforts and making some serious headway online. Case in point? Comparable-store sales grew 4.8% in fiscal Q1, well ahead of analysts’ expectations of 4.1%. Of that, 2.1% came from digital sales, which were up 42% year over year.
Second-quarter and full-year guidance also came in strong (while TGT beat consensus earnings and revenue estimates for Q1). In all, Target is not only holding Amazon at bay, it’s actually finding new outlets of growth as well. That gives this business momentum and hopefully investors will see that in its stock price too.
It may not be the next Amazon, but it’s far from being eliminated by it. Now, it just needs to hold $76.31.
Valuation and Growth
While they are a bit too conservative with these numbers based on management’s recent guidance, analysts expect about 3% to 3.5% revenue growth over the next two years. However, despite the store renovations, higher wages and omni-channel investments, the bottom line is accelerating. Estimates currently call for 8.2% earnings growth this year and 7% growth in 2020. That’s very impressive given the cost of doing business these days.
It’s solid growth, but not robust. However, it all depends on what we’re paying for that growth. At 13.1 times the midpoint of management’s 2019 guidance, I don’t consider TGT stock too expensive. In fact, when you consider its next catalyst — the dividend — Target stock seems downright cheap.
JPMorgan analysts obviously agree, slapping a $100 price target on the retailer after seeing its most recent earnings report. Will shares rally ~30% over the next 12 months? I don’t know, but at the very least I don’t feel like Target stock is a rip-off. Particularly when it’s one of the few retailers doing so well.
Worth noting is that Stifel Nicolaus analysts also upped their price target on Target, to $85.
Target Stock and Its Dividend
So what about that dividend?
In June 2018, Target stock bumped its quarterly dividend by 3.2%, to 64 cents per share. Currently, TGT now yields 3.3%. When coupled with its low valuation and decent growth — plus its reassuring quarterly report earlier this week — income investors should find this one attractive. After all, what’s not to like about a yield in excess of 3% alongside a reasonable valuation?
Well, there’s more to it than that. Target stock is actually a dividend-paying stud that’s often overlooked in the stock market. Did you know that Target has not only paid, but has actually raised its dividend for 51 consecutive years?
That’s right, this one is a dividend champion, with more than five decades of annual pay raises. That’s through periods of high inflation, the volatility in the early 2000s, the Great Recession in 2008 (when retail took a massive hit) and even now, at a time when the industry and business model demands more investment than ever to stay afloat.
Look for Target to maintain its dividend-friendly ways — both now and in the future. The consistency in its dividend is reason alone to consider this name in just about any investor’s portfolio. But when coupled with its decent growth, reasonable valuation and ability to fight back against Amazon and e-commerce, TGT stock is something everyone should at least consider.