Despite the strategic moves the card processor has taken in the past year to shore up its future, its shares slipped 1.5% to $81.89 on Tuesday -- even after beating quarterly earnings and revenue estimates significantly.
Perhaps the drop reflects continued concern about the departure of CEO Charlie Scharf, credited with leading the acquisition of former subsidiary Visa Europe for $20 billion, as well as the San Francisco-based company's lighter-than-expected full-year outlook. But analysts and stockholders say neither is a reason to move investments elsewhere.
Indeed, "we would be buyers on any Visa share weakness," Jason Deleeuw, a Piper Jaffray research analyst, wrote in a note to clients after the earnings report. Let's go over some of the reasons that may be sound advice.
While Monday's earnings call was the last for Scharf, who took the lead at the company in 2012, Visa has already named a successor, Alfred Kelly, who's serving on its board, has a wealth of experience at rival American Express (AXP) - Get Report and has committed to following through on his predecessor's initiatives.
"The competition is strong and the canvas is still being painted as the industry evolves," Scharf said on the call, "but our position is strong and our assets are exceptional."
Visa's adjusted earnings of 78 cents a share for the three months through September, its fiscal fourth quarter, beat the 73-cent average of analysts' estimates in a FactSet survey. Net income, including one-time charges related to the company's purchase of Visa Europe and severance packages, increased 28% to $1.9 billion, and payment volume climbed 47% to $1.9 trillion.
While Visa's 2017 revenue outlook of as much as 18% growth was lower than the 20% average from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg that largely reflects the difficulty in forecasting European performance, not a weakness in its business model, Deleeuw said.
TheStreet's Jim Cramer, who holds Visa stock in his Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, agreed, saying investors "should hope that Visa goes down so you can buy more."
With the Visa Europe acquisition under its belt, the largest retail electronic payment network increased its network to 17,100 partners, 40 million merchants and nearly 3 billion cards, the company said.
Along with that purchase, completed in June, Visa inked a deal with rival PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report to stop steering customers away from using its cards to fund their online accounts and picked up branded-card partnerships with USAA and Costco (COST) - Get Report .
Adding to the strength of its business model, Visa expanded in the digital payments market with Visa Checkout, which operates on desktop computers as well mobile devices like tablets and phones, and it's introducing Visa B2B Connect using blockchain, or bitcoin-like technology to improve payments across businesses.
"We are highly attracted to Visa's powerful brand, vast global acceptance network, and strong business model," Glenn Green, Oppenheimer analyst, wrote in a note to clients. "We believe the company is well positioned to benefit from the long-term secular shift from paper currency (cash/check) to plastic (electronic payments), consumer spending growth, and increased globalization."
That's not to say there are no challenges ahead, however. Piper Jaffray, which has an overweight rating on the stock, still lowered its price target by one dollar, to $96, based on the forecast reduction.
Indeed, CFO Vasant Prabhu described a variety of hurdles for the company, including "economic weakness in Europe and Brexit uncertainty hurting both domestic and cross-border volumes; a global economy that remains generally sluggish" and more expensive client incentives as Visa and Citigroup (C) - Get Report take over the Costco deal once held by American Express.
Still, Oppenheimer analysts reiterated their outperform rating with a price target of $90 and maintained that while there are risks, the business is strong.