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Target Corporation (TGT - Analyst Report), an S&P 500 company and the operator of general merchandise and food discount stores in the United States, is set to report its first-quarter fiscal 2013 results on May 22. In the last quarter, it posted a positive surprise of 12.2%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Target’s efficient marketing, multi-channel strategy, product innovation, compelling pricing strategy, and new merchandise assortments are driving comparable-store sales and operating margins. The company’s P-fresh remodel program and 5% REDcard Rewards program help sustain sales momentum, continue to drive traffic and enhance customer shopping experience. The company’s focus on “Expect More. Pay Less.” brand promise is also bearing fruit.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Target is likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank of #1, #2 or #3 for this to happen. This is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: ESP for Target is 0.00%. This is because the Most Accurate Estimate stands at 86 cents, which is in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Target’s Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) lowers the predictive power of ESP because the Zacks Rank #3 when combined with a 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some other companies you may want to consider as our model shows they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO - Snapshot Report) with an Earnings ESP of +9.38% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

J&J Snack Foods Corp. (JJSF - Snapshot Report) with an Earnings ESP of +0.90% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG - Analyst Report) with an Earnings ESP of +1.70% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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