Without further ado, here's a look at
this week's Rocket Stocks
2012 has been a great year for
(V - Get Report)
-- shares of the $116 billion payment network have rallied more than 41% so far this year, easily besting the broad market's double-digit rally. Visa's payment network is the standard bearer in the industry, its logo appearing on more than 60% of the world's credit and debit cards. That's afforded the firm a comfortable cushion over rivals like
without the credit risk seen at other rivals like
Visa doesn't carry any credit risk because it doesn't make loans. Instead, its partner banks do the lending, leaving Visa to collect a discount fee off the top of every purchase made over its network. Because the Visa brand is ubiquitous, merchants effectively have no choice but to accept it -- and because Visa is accepted universally, it's exceptionally popular with newly issued cards. That positive feedback loop should keep the brand strong even as competition ramps up for consumers' spending volume.
Let's be clear: For all of its positive attributes, Visa isn't cheap. This stock's earnings multiple is enormous right now, and investors know it. That said, momentum is on the company's side as we approach the end of the year. With growth in global electronic payments lifting the fortunes of all the players in this industry, Visa's momentum isn't likely to slow as we reach year-end.