Visa Earnings, Outlook Impress Investors

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Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) reported fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 results after markets closed Wednesday. The credit card issuer posted quarterly adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.21 and revenues of $5.43 billion. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Visa reported adjusted EPS of $1.20 on revenues of $4.86 billion. Consensus estimates had called for EPS of $1.21 and $5.44 billion in revenue.

On a GAAP basis, Visa’s EPS totaled $1.23 per share and that includes $132 million in non-operating expense.

For the full year, Visa posted EPS of $4.61 on revenues of $20.61 billion. Consensus estimates called for revenues of $20.61 billion and adjusted EPS of $4.59.

CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr. said:

We closed our fiscal year with strong momentum, delivering robust revenue and earnings growth fueled by double-digit increases in payments volume, cross-border volume and processed transactions. The major aspects of the Visa Europe integration concluded successfully with the completion of our platform migration and the shift to commercial client contracts. Aside from the impact of a stronger dollar, positive business trends remain intact as we enter our new fiscal year.

In the company’s outlook for the 2019 fiscal year, Visa forecast full-year net revenue growth in the low double digits with a negative impact of 1% on currency exchange effects. EPS growth was forecast in the high teens on a GAAP basis and in the mid-teens on an adjusted basis, including the 1% negative effect of currency exchange rates.

Analysts are looking for first fiscal quarter revenues of $5.46 billion and adjusted EPS of $1.27. For the full year, the consensus estimates call for revenues of $22.95 billion and adjusted EPS of $5.32.

Payment volume rose 11% year over year in the quarter and profits rose 33% to $2.8 billion. Net operating revenue rose 12%.

For the year to date, Visa shares have gained 17.8%, fifth-best among the Dow 30 stocks.

Visa’s stock traded up about 1.2% early Thursday to $135.91, after closing at $134.26 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $106.60 to $151.56. The 12-month consensus analyst price target was $164.35 before last night’s report.