MasterCard profit beats estimate; stays bullish on China

Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:59pm EST
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By Sudarshan Varadhan and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) - MasterCard Inc (MA.N: Quote) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and said it would accelerate investments in China, even as concerns mount over slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.

Shares of the world's No. 2 payments network rose as much as 5.6 percent and were set for their best day in five months.

The company's profit beat mirrored that of larger rival Visa Inc (V.N: Quote), which backed its full-year forecast on Thursday.

Visa's shares rose as much as 5.2 percent to $72.95.

MasterCard is working with China's two top state-held commercial banks to launch their mobile payment products in the country, Chief Executive Ajay Banga said on a conference call.

China's decision to open up its $7 trillion bank card market to foreign companies is expected to boost earnings at MasterCard and Visa.

MasterCard expects to see double-digit annual growth in credit card transaction volumes in the country, a senior executive told Reuters in November.

The company, which operates payments service MasterPass, also plans to increase its digital investments.   Continued...

A sign with a logo of MasterCard is seen on the door of a shoe shop in Stavropol January 13, 2015. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko