Mastercard (NYSE:MA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Mastercard’s stock has outperformed the industry in last year. 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 2.5% upward over the last 90 days. It, however, continues to face increasing costs, a volatile forex environment and legal issues. Also, higher incentives and rewards will put pressure on the bottom line.”

MA has been the topic of a number of other reports. Guggenheim upgraded shares of Mastercard from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their target price for the stock from $135.00 to $153.00 in a research note on Monday, September 11th. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $180.00 price target (up previously from $166.00) on shares of Mastercard in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Mizuho reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $140.00 price target on shares of Mastercard in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Barclays upped their price target on shares of Mastercard from $142.00 to $148.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 8th. Finally, Buckingham Research initiated coverage on shares of Mastercard in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $163.00 price target for the company. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-eight have given a buy rating to the stock. Mastercard presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $159.92.

Shares of Mastercard (NYSE MA) traded up $0.55 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $151.91. 3,168,900 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,713,850. The company has a market cap of $162,730.00, a P/E ratio of 35.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.71 and a beta of 1.21. Mastercard has a one year low of $104.01 and a one year high of $154.65. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 1.66 and a quick ratio of 1.66.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The credit services provider reported $1.34 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.23 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $3.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.28 billion. Mastercard had a net margin of 38.70% and a return on equity of 78.38%. The firm’s revenue was up 18.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.08 EPS. analysts predict that Mastercard will post 4.54 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Mastercard announced that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Monday, December 4th that allows the company to repurchase $4.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the credit services provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, insider Michael Fraccaro sold 5,800 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, October 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $147.59, for a total value of $856,022.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 0.30% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC purchased a new position in Mastercard during the third quarter valued at $102,000. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 1,365.6% during the second quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 938 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $105,000 after purchasing an additional 874 shares in the last quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 170.1% during the second quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 867 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $105,000 after purchasing an additional 546 shares in the last quarter. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC purchased a new position in Mastercard during the third quarter valued at $106,000. Finally, Proficio Capital Partners LLC lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 1.3% during the second quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 905 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $118,000 after purchasing an additional 12 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.57% of the company’s stock.

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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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