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Visa: Financial Winner

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Visa (STT) was the winner among major U.S. financial names on Thursday, with shares rising over 4% to close at $194.61.

The broad indices ended higher, with slight gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 (SPX.X), while the NASDAQ Composite rose 1% on the strength of Facebook (FB), which was up 30% to close at $34.36. Facebook reported a 61% year-over-year increase in advertising revenue.

Stocks recovered from midday losses, which were described as "a healthy pause" by Jason Weisberg of Seaport Securities in an interview from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange . When asked if the indictment of SAC Capital Advisors, Weisberg said the hedge fund manager's "story is never ending," and that there was some "concern in the institutional community, because they are trying to get a grasp at what's at stake."

"It was news to me this morning that now [SAC's] trading's being looked at as far back as 1999."

Weisberg said investors were "really focused on the guidance" companies were providing in their second-quarter earnings reports.

"We need the financials to participate in any upside momentum for the market to really carry through to the upside," he said.

The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) was down slightly to close at all but seven of the 24 index components declining for the session.

Visa's Strong Outlook

Investors were thrilled with Visa's results for its fiscal third quarter, which were announced after the market close on Wednesday. For the quarter ended June 20, the payment processor reported earnings of $1.225 billion, or $1.88 a share, compared to a net loss of $1.839 billion, or $2.74 a share a year earlier, when Visa made a provision for litigation reserves of $4.1 billion to cover its portion of a large settlement between card processors and banks, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), and a group of retailers over anticompetitive processing fees.

Adjusting for the extraordinary expenses during the prior year's quarter and for tax benefits, Visa said its fiscal third-quarter earnings were up 16% year over year, while earnings per share were up 20%. The higher EPS came about because the company's share buybacks lowered the weighted average count of Class A common shares to 651 million from 681 million a year earlier.

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