October 25, 2017 / 10:17 AM / a year ago

Visa's profit beats on higher card swipes, stock at record

(Reuters) - Visa Inc (V.N) beat Wall Street’s quarterly profit expectations on Wednesday helped by more people using its world-wide network to pay for everything from groceries to Uber rides, sending its shares to a record.

A Visa credit card is seen on a computer keyboard in this picture illustration taken September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Illustration

Visa has seen an uptick of card payments in the U.S. as consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, remains at a healthy clip.

The company’s U.S. market share for card payments has climbed steadily as consumers switch from cash and checks.

Visa has been tapping into the U.S. market aggressively, offering incentives to use to cards instead of cash on everyday purchases. It recently partnered with Uber that lets riders, whose Uber account is linked to a Visa card, earn ride credits for buying goods at participating merchants.

Shares of Visa, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, rose as much as 2 percent to a record of $110.61.

In the latest quarter, the world’s largest payments network operator saw payment volumes rise 9.8 percent to $1.93 trillion, on a constant dollar basis, with the United States accounting for about 43 percent of the total.

It expects payment volume growth of high-single digits in 2018, on a constant dollar basis.

The company is also making progress with integrating its $23 billion Visa Europe acquisition last year.

“Visa ended our fiscal year as we began, with strong growth across payments volume, cross-border volume and processed transactions, which was bolstered by the addition of Visa Europe,” Chief Executive Alfred Kelly Jr said.

Earnings rose 11 percent to $2.14 billion in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30. Earnings per Class A share rose to 90 cents and beat analysts’ estimates of 85 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Visa has topped estimates for eight straight quarters.

Operating expenses rose marginally to $1.64 billion from severance costs related to Visa Europe. Visa expects adjusted operating expenses to be in the mid-single-digit range in 2018.

Total operating revenue rose 14 percent to $4.86 billion, beating estimates for the fifth straight quarter. bit.ly/2z5EEeA

Visa expects revenue growth of high-single digits in 2018, on a nominal dollar basis.

“Overall we see trends as sound, and while some may see net revenue guidance as light, we see another year of strong growth,” Barclays said in a note.

The stock has climbed 37.6 percent this year as of Tuesday’s close, outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index .DJI, which rose 18 percent over the same period.

Visa’s rival, MasterCard (MA.N) reports financial results next week.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Bernard Orr

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