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Pre-Market: Target Earnings Beat Despite Data Leak; Wall Street Firms Agree to Stop Analyst Surveys


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brokered a deal to prevent certain investors from getting relevant market-moving information before others.

Stocks were set to rise on Wednesday following better-than-anticipated quarterly results for Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT). A forthcoming report is likely to show that new-home sales suffered in the harsh winter weather.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.08% to 16,200. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures gained 0.11% to 1,848.30. Futures on the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) rose 0.11% to 3,692.50.

Target reported fourth-quarter profit that topped expectations despite the damaging leak of customer information that shook confidence in the store during the crucial holiday season.

"Results softened meaningfully following our December [2013] announcement of a data breach," said CEO Gregg Steinhafel. "As we plan for the new fiscal year, we will continue to work tirelessly to win back the confidence of our guests."

Earnings per share fell by 46% to $0.81, from $1.47 a year earlier. Revenue fell by 5.3% to $21.5 billion. Still, this beat analysts' estimates of $0.76-per-share earnings. Shares of Target rose 0.9% in pre-market trading.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) shares extended yesterday's gains in the pre-market ahead of the retailer's earnings after the bell. Wall Street expects the struggling company to report that its net loss narrowed to $0.82 per share in the fourth quarter from $1.85 in the third quarter, and $1.95 a year earlier. Investors will also pay close attention to the retailer's liquidity and margins. After rising 7.65% on Tuesday, JC Penney shares rose 3.4% in early trading.

After reporting earnings yesterday afternoon, Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ:DWA) shares plummeted 12.7%. Profit fell to $0.20 per share, missing estimates by $0.12. Revenue dropped 23% year-over-year to $204.3 million as the animated film Turbo failed to excite moviegoers.

Eighteen Wall Street firms including Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) have agreed to stop allowing their analysts to participate in sentiment surveys that only elite investors have access to. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brokered the deal to prevent certain investors from getting relevant market-moving information before others.

At 10 a.m. today, new-home sales figures for January will hit the wires. Economists expect the annual rate of sales to have fallen to 400,000 from 414,000 in December of last year.

Boston Federal Reserve Chief Eric Rosengren will speak today at noon on the economic outlook. This evening, Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto will speak on the history of the central bank in Ohio.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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