Target Dividend Statement Appears, Disappears From Website

A statement announcing a dividend increase appeared on Target Corp.’s website on Tuesday afternoon and then disappeared shortly thereafter, befuddling investors who sent the stock up on the news.

The statement, which also said the company boosted its stock buyback plan, was posted to Target’s site at about 3:11 p.m. New York time. Fewer than 25 minutes later, it was gone. Target, which didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg News, told CNBC that it didn’t issue a press release about a dividend increase.

The announcement sent Target’s stock into positive territory following a decline earlier in the session. By the close, it was little changed at $78.90. The shares have climbed 3.9 percent this year.

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 Securities and Exchange Commission’s public filing system. U.S. regulators said the hoax was hatched by a man in Bulgaria who had fooled Wall Street twice before with similar ruses.

The statement posted to Target’s site said the company was raising its quarterly dividend to 56 cents a share, in line with what analysts were estimating. It said the retailer’s stock buyback plan would increase to $10 billion, from $5 billion.

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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