Target delivers strong sales growth

Target added 2.92% yesterday to settle at $69.14 per share, buoyed by the release of strong sales figures during the 2017 holiday season. In November and December, the group saw same-store sales growth come in at 3.4%, much higher than an expected increase of between 0% and 2%. This strong performance was mainly attributable to upbeat sales in its home, apparel, food and beverage and essentials categories. Looking forward, Target also increased its fourth quarter and full-year earnings outlook. The group confirmed the recent tax overhaul should create additional cash flow in 2018 and this would be used for capital investments, dividends and share repurchases.

In currencies, the rand endured a fairly volatile session yesterday, but was slightly stronger in late afternoon trade. After a previous close of R12.383/$ on Monday, the local currency weakened early on to a low of R12.452/$ at 10:50. However, the rand surged more than 1% following false reports President Jacob Zuma had resigned, before swiftly erasing those gains less than 10 minutes later. By 17:00, the local currency was at just below R12.40/$. It has firmed up overnight and is currently R12.34/$ this morning.

Asian indices are off to a mixed start, despite yesterday’s rally in global markets. Mainland markets led the gains, with the Hang Seng adding 0.48% to 31,160.92 index points and is set to further extend its recent winning streak. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.35% by the break. In contrast, the Australian ASX shed 0.34% to bring its recent run of gains to an end. The Japanese Nikkei lost 0.31% to 23,776.08 index points, with the index on track to end lower for the first time in four trading sessions.

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