Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $160.00 target price on the credit services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “MasterCard’s stock has outperformed the industry year to date.  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. Revenue growth has remianed strong and will continue to grow on the back of its strong market position and attractive core business that continues to be driven by new deals, renewed agreements and expansion of service offerings. The acquisition 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 2.6% upward over the last 60 days.”

A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Morgan Stanley reiterated an overweight rating and set a $160.00 price target (up previously from $138.00) on shares of Mastercard in a research report on Tuesday, September 19th. Guggenheim upgraded Mastercard from a neutral rating to a buy rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $135.00 to $153.00 in a research report on Monday, September 11th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc restated a positive rating and issued a $158.00 target price (up previously from $149.00) on shares of Mastercard in a research report on Friday, September 8th. Instinet restated a buy rating and issued a $163.00 target price (up previously from $153.00) on shares of Mastercard in a research report on Saturday, September 9th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies restated an overweight rating and issued a $150.00 target price (up previously from $143.00) on shares of Mastercard in a research report on Friday, September 8th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and twenty-four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Mastercard presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $141.47.

Mastercard (NYSE MA) opened at 141.89 on Thursday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $133.90 and a 200-day moving average of $122.61. The company has a market cap of $151.10 billion, a PE ratio of 35.21 and a beta of 1.18. Mastercard has a 12-month low of $99.51 and a 12-month high of $143.59.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The credit services provider reported $1.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.04 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $3.05 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.98 billion. Mastercard had a return on equity of 74.92% and a net margin of 38.30%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.96 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Mastercard will post $4.43 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 9th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be issued a dividend of $0.22 per share. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.62%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 5th. Mastercard’s payout ratio is currently 21.78%.

In other Mastercard news, CFO Martina Hundmejean sold 91,107 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $129.79, for a total value of $11,824,777.53. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 170,570 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $22,138,280.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Foundation Mastercard sold 87,618 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $126.60, for a total value of $11,092,438.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 112,736,681 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,272,463,814.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 850,468 shares of company stock worth $109,574,694. Corporate insiders own 0.30% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. American Beacon Advisors Inc. bought a new position in Mastercard in the first quarter valued at about $100,000. Lipe & Dalton bought a new position in Mastercard in the first quarter valued at about $101,000. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 1,365.6% in the second quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 938 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $105,000 after acquiring an additional 874 shares during the period. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 170.1% in the second quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 867 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $105,000 after acquiring an additional 546 shares during the period. Finally, Proficio Capital Partners LLC lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 108.2% in the first quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 893 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $108,000 after acquiring an additional 464 shares during the period. 76.04% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Mastercard Company Profile

MasterCard Incorporated is a technology company that connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses across the world, enabling them to use electronic forms of payment. The Company operates through Payment Solutions segment. The Company allows user to make payments by creating a range of payment solutions and services using its brands, which include MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus.

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