Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Mastercard (NYSE:MA) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Mastercard’s stock has outperformed the industry in a year's time. The stock have witnessed its 2018 move upward over the past 60 days. The company is poised for growth, given its solid market position, ongoing expansion and digital initiatives plus significant opportunities from the secular shift toward electronic payments. Its numerous acquisitions have aided revenue growth. The company is gaining from increase in switched transactions, cross-border volume and gross dollar volume from higher spending. However, escalating costs will put pressure on the company’s bottom line. Also, Mastercard has been incurring quite high levels of costs under rebates and incentives, which remains a concern.”

MA has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Mastercard from a buy rating to a conviction-buy rating in a report on Monday, September 17th. Loop Capital set a $232.00 price objective on shares of Mastercard and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Barclays initiated coverage on shares of Mastercard in a report on Wednesday, November 14th. They issued an overweight rating and a $240.00 price objective on the stock. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price objective on shares of Mastercard from $210.00 to $224.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Monday, October 8th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on shares of Mastercard in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. They issued an outperform rating and a $238.00 price objective on the stock. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-six have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Mastercard presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $221.28.

MA stock traded down $6.49 during trading on Friday, reaching $196.50. The stock had a trading volume of 4,958,614 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,418,945. Mastercard has a 1-year low of $149.17 and a 1-year high of $225.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a current ratio of 1.55 and a quick ratio of 1.55. The firm has a market capitalization of $209.65 billion, a P/E ratio of 42.90, a P/E/G ratio of 1.74 and a beta of 1.21.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 30th. The credit services provider reported $1.78 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.68 by $0.10. Mastercard had a net margin of 35.88% and a return on equity of 114.58%. The firm had revenue of $3.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.86 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.34 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 14.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Mastercard will post 6.43 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 8th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 9th will be given a $0.33 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, January 8th. This represents a $1.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.67%. This is an increase from Mastercard’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.25. Mastercard’s payout ratio is presently 21.83%.

Mastercard announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, December 4th that authorizes the company to repurchase $6.50 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the credit services provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, Director Richard K. Davis bought 2,475 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 2nd. The stock was bought at an average price of $196.37 per share, with a total value of $486,015.75. Following the transaction, the director now owns 3,468 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $681,011.16. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Capital Guardian Trust Co. bought a new stake in shares of Mastercard during the 3rd quarter valued at about $103,000. Baker Ellis Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Mastercard during the 3rd quarter valued at about $104,000. Bay Colony Advisory Group Inc d b a Bay Colony Advisors bought a new stake in shares of Mastercard during the 2nd quarter valued at about $109,000. Fort L.P. bought a new stake in shares of Mastercard during the 2nd quarter valued at about $120,000. Finally, Point72 Hong Kong Ltd bought a new stake in shares of Mastercard during the 2nd quarter valued at about $131,000. 74.84% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Mastercard Company Profile

Mastercard Incorporated, a technology company, provides transaction processing and other payment-related products and services in the United States and internationally. It facilitates the processing of payment transactions, including authorization, clearing, and settlement, as well as delivers related products and services.

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