MasterCard (NYSE: MA) Rises on Upgrade from Citigroup (NYSE: C)
MasterCard (NYSE: MA) saw it’s stock price charging up, boosted by news of upgrades on the firm’s stock from analysts at Citigroup (NYSE: C).
MasterCard, owner of the world’s second largest credit and debit card network has continued it’s successful run growing transactional revenue as consumers become more and more cashless each year. Citigroup’s Donald Fandetti raised his rating on the firm from Neutral to Buy, with a $525 price target, following the company’s investor day in New York City. Shares of Mastercard, which trails only Visa in the size of its network, was recently up 1.3% to $460.31 in morning trading, apparently helped by the Citigroup upgrade.
Fandetti wrote in the note “We believe the company can continue to deliver strong 20% long-term earnings growth, and the pull back in spend is stabilizing based on our channel checks and recent data.” Fandetti believes that the regulatory environment is in “good shape” and that the rising equity markets should support shopping sprees for the wealthy. He further added that “While we recognize we are late on our call and the easy money has been made, we see no reason to remain on the sidelines given the attractive risk/reward, and our general positive view on cards and the broader equity market.”
Despite ongoing problems across the Atlantic, MasterCard’s international business has also held up well. Nomura’s Bill Carcache reiterated his Buy rating on the stock today as well, writing “international growth remains on track, and the European business continues to perform well despite significant macro headwinds in the region. Overall, we are encouraged by the company’s year-to-date performance and growth objectives for 2013.”
The company announced yesterday that it expects revenue to slow in the second half of the year, but its long-term prospects look bright. Eighty-five percent of retail transactions around the world are still made with cash, offering a huge runway for growth, and MasterCard’s virtual duopoly with Visa (NYSE: V) makes it one of the best-positioned primary beneficiaries of this tailwind. The company has attractive growth prospects, as they have been actively pushing into new areas like mobile banking and expanding its reach in emerging markets through new government-benefits programs.
Given the long-term worldwide shift from cash to plastic, the future of MasterCard seems very bright.