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Must-See Chart: MasterCard Wraps Holiday Present

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- MasterCard (MA - Get Report) following Tuesday's market close announced several shareholder-friendly actions ahead of the holidays.

For starters, the payment processor's stock will undergo a 10-for-1 split on Jan. 21, 2014, for investors of record as of Jan. 9.  The split will be processed as a dividend, with investors receiving nine additional shares for each share they hold on the record date.  MasterCard said the split "will not result in any taxable income, gain or loss to stockholders."

MasterCard's stock closed at $763.61 Tuesday.  That's a rather high share price for some investors and some mutual funds, so the split could well provided a catalyst for the shares to climb further.  MasterCard's stock was up 56% year-to-date through Tuesday's market close.

The company also announced an increase in its quarterly dividend on common shares to $1.10 from 60 cents.  Following the split, the quarterly dividend will be 11 cents a share.

MasterCard also announced a new authorization for up to $3.5 billion in share buybacks.  The company said it still was authorized to buy back $514 million in common shares under its previous repurchase authorization.

The following chart shows the performance of MasterCard's stock against the performance of its payment processing rival Visa (V - Get Report), along with the S&P 500 (^GSPC)

Visa's shares have "only" risen 32% this year through Tuesday's close at $199.43, with pressure from the continued court battle over the implementation of the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bank reform legislation, which could threaten Visa's leading market share.

MasterCard's shares were up 4% in premarket trading to $794.22, while Visa was up 1% to $201.20.

MA Chart
data by YCharts


-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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