Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

Target Affirms Dividend Increase After Press Release Gaffe

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Target Corp. reiterated a 7.7 percent increase in its dividend to 56 cents in an official statement, after a similar announcement was posted on its website earlier by mistake.

The retailer also affirmed a $5 billion boost to its stock buyback plan, it said in a Business Wire statement on Tuesday night.

Target earlier posted by accident a statement announcing a dividend increase before the board made a final decision on the matter, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The announcement appeared on Target’s website on Tuesday at about 3 p.m. New York time and then disappeared fewer than 25 minutes later, befuddling investors who sent the stock up on the news.

The company was working through different scenarios for the outcome of the board meeting, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter was private. One of those contingencies was posted on the site mistakenly, according to the person.

Target shares rose 1 percent to $79.67 on Wednesday in New York.

The incident came less than a month after a fake bid sent shares of Avon Products Inc. soaring. In that case, a filing purporting to show a takeover offer was published over the public filing system of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. U.S. regulators said the hoax was hatched by a man in Bulgaria who had fooled Wall Street twice before with similar ruses.

Target was the victim of a high-profile data breach in 2013, when hackers stole customer data before the holidays. In April, the company agreed to pay banks $19 million for costs they incurred in the attack. Since the fourth quarter of 2013, Target has reported $166 million in expenses related to the breach.

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