Why MasterCard Shares Are Reaching Higher

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Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) released its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The company said that it had $1.14 in earnings per share (EPS) and $3.31 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $1.12 in EPS and revenue of $3.26 billion. In the same period of last year, the company reported EPS of $0.86 and $2.76 billion in revenue.

Note that the firm’s higher effective tax rate of 84.7% in the fourth quarter was primarily due to the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Excluding special items, the lower adjusted effective tax rate of 26.8% was primarily due to a more favorable geographic mix of taxable earnings and the impact of nonrecurring deductions, partially offset by a lower U.S. foreign tax credit benefit.

During this quarter, net revenue growth increased 20% as reported and 18% on a currency-neutral basis. At the same time, there was 13% increase in gross dollar volume, on a local currency basis, to $1.4 trillion.

Separately, Mastercard had an increase in switched transactions of 17%, to 17.7 billion, as well as an increase in cross-border volumes of 17% on a local currency basis.

Mastercard did not offer any guidance for the coming quarter, but consensus estimate call for $1.25 in EPS and $3.16 billion in revenue for this time.

AjayBanga, Mastercard’s president and CEO, commented:

We’re pleased to have finished 2017 with strong results for the quarterand full year, driven by the solid execution of our strategy. Our ongoing investments in digital and safety and security, combined with our recent acquisitions, position us well to continue to grow our core business and capture new payment flows.

Shares of Mastercard closed Wednesday at $169.00, with a consensus analyst price target of $173.58 and a 52-week range of $104.61 to $170.81. Following the report, the stock was up about 3% at $173.80 in early trading indications Thursday.