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8 Stocks to Consider Ahead of Earnings

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Visa

Friday's Closing Price: $100.74

12-Month Median Price Target: $110

Implied Potential Return: 8.4%

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.9%

Current Analyst Coverage Breakdown: Of the 35 analysts covering the shares, 28 have either strong buy (14) or buy (14) ratings vs. 7 holds.

Commentary: Visa is slated to report its fiscal first-quarter results on Feb. 8, and Wall Street is expecting a profit of $1.45 a share in the December-ended period on revenue of $2.47 billion.

The stock has advanced more than 42% in the past year, riding the same trend toward increased credit and debit card usage as Mastercard. Its 52-week high came on Dec. 27 at $103.45, and the current forward price-to-earnings multiple of 14.8X is slightly cheaper than Mastercard's at 15.6X.

Visa is one of Evercore Partners' Conviction Buys with an overweight rating and a price target of $130.

"The leading global retail electronic payments network, Visa offers 19% EPS growth potential for 2012, driven by estimated 1) 15% global payments volume growth; 2) 11% processed transaction gains; and 3) increased card-related revenue," the firm said. "The secular shift from paper to electronic payments should continue to drive increased debit and credit-card transactions over time."

Check out TheStreet's quote page for Visa for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.

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