Morgan Stanley Dean Witter said on Wednesday it had raised its 12-month target prices on retailers Target Corp and May Department Stores. Target Corp was raised to $35 from $30, and May was raised to $35 from $32.

Analyst Bruce M. Missett said in a report that mature companies with excellent franchises and solid balance sheets can present interesting investment opportunities for value investors.

"We believe this view is best captured by sector leader May Department Stores," he said. The analyst has an outperform rating on May, which inched up 0.43 per cent to $28-7/8 in morning dealings. May's 52-week range is $34-7/16 to $19-4/16.

Missett said Target Corp has long-term growth potential and that the new target price is based on the shares trading at only a 25 per cent premium to MSDW's long-term growth forecast of 17 per cent, "which is also the low end of the range at which we believe Target should trade."

MSDW has a strong buy recommendation on Target. The stock was up 5.07 per cent at $29-13/16 in morning trade. Its 52-week range is $21-12/16 to $39-3/16.

(C) Reuters Limited 2000.