Mastercard (MA) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Mastercard (NYSE:MA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday morning. They currently have $196.00 target price on the credit services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Mastercard’s stock has outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company is well positioned for growth, given its solid market position, ongoing expansion and digital initiatives, and significant opportunities from the secular shift toward electronic payments. The acquisitions of VocaLink and NuData Security complement the company’s efforts to participate in new payment flows and enhance its safety and security offerings.  The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised upward over the last 60 days. It, however, continues to face increasing costs. Also, higher incentives and rewards will put pressure on the bottom line.”

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MA has been the subject of several other research reports. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $164.00 target price on shares of Mastercard in a report on Monday, January 8th. Morgan Stanley upped their target price on shares of Mastercard from $178.00 to $192.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Sanford C. Bernstein started coverage on shares of Mastercard in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. They issued an outperform rating and a $207.00 target price for the company. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed an outperform rating and issued a $182.00 target price (up previously from $170.00) on shares of Mastercard in a report on Friday, January 19th. Finally, Barclays reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $170.00 target price on shares of Mastercard in a report on Friday, January 5th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, thirty-one have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $179.62.

Shares of MA stock opened at $174.27 on Thursday. Mastercard has a 1 year low of $111.53 and a 1 year high of $183.73. The company has a quick ratio of 1.57, a current ratio of 1.57 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.99. The firm has a market cap of $183,781.94, a PE ratio of 38.05, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.60 and a beta of 1.16.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The credit services provider reported $1.14 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.12 by $0.02. Mastercard had a net margin of 31.33% and a return on equity of 83.57%. The firm had revenue of $3.31 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.25 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.86 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 20.2% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Mastercard will post 5.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 9th. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 9th will be given a dividend of $0.25 per share. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, April 6th. Mastercard’s dividend payout ratio is 21.83%.

In related news, insider Michael Fraccaro sold 3,993 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $173.37, for a total value of $692,266.41. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 5,353 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $928,049.61. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director David R. Carlucci sold 5,950 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $183.10, for a total transaction of $1,089,445.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 45,571 shares of company stock worth $8,174,328 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MA. Harding Loevner LP grew its stake in Mastercard by 170.7% in the 3rd quarter. Harding Loevner LP now owns 3,447,079 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $194,599,000 after acquiring an additional 2,173,507 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Mastercard by 3.3% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 63,345,804 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $9,588,019,000 after purchasing an additional 2,000,290 shares in the last quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of Mastercard by 546.9% during the third quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 1,573,784 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $222,218,000 after purchasing an additional 1,330,509 shares in the last quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. boosted its stake in shares of Mastercard by 133.0% during the third quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 1,927,727 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $272,195,000 after purchasing an additional 1,100,200 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted its stake in shares of Mastercard by 56.8% during the fourth quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 2,608,935 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $394,881,000 after purchasing an additional 944,924 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.12% of the company’s stock.

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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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