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Visa Shares Rise After Confident Report

Visa sees improving trends in credit and debit card volumes, and its shares rise Wednesday.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The quiet confidence displayed by Visa (V) - Get Visa Inc. Class A Report in its earnings report and subsequent executive conference call with analysts appeared to gladden investors Wednesday.

Shares of the giant credit-card processor rose $2.58, or 3.5%, to $76.48 in hectic late-morning trading. Volume surpassed 8 million shares; the average daily turnover in the name is 5.3 million shares.

After Tuesday's closing bell,

Visa reported a before-items profit

that beat expectations by two cents and revenue that topped analysts' targets by more than $100 million. The final tally came to $552 million, or 74 cents per Class A common share, in earnings and $1.9 billion in revenue. The company attributed the results to cost-cutting and a jump in the use of debit cards as many recession-stung consumers decide to scissor in half their credit cards.

On the conference call, top Visa executives provided a series of numbers meant to be taken as evidence that business has steadily improved of late and that a recovery is possibly developing. According to the company, for example, the pace of the decline in credit-card volumes has slowed: compared with a year ago, volume fell 9% in the third quarter, 7% in September and 4% through the first three weeks of October, Visa said.

Growth in debit-card volumes, meanwhile, has quickened, expanding 7% in the third quarter from a year ago, 9% in September and 11% through October to date.

Some viewed Visa's 2010 guidance as conservative, including

Real Money's

Gary Dvorchak, who wrote in a column Wednesday that the company's outlook leaves room for plenty of upside.

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In its earnings release, Visa told Wall Street to expect 2010 revenue growth at the lower end of its previously issued range of 11% to 15%. But, the company added, earnings per share could grow by more than 20% next year.

Shares of Visa archrival

Mastercard

(MA) - Get Mastercard Incorporated Class A Report

, which is slated to release its quarterly results on Nov. 3, also gained ground Wednesday, trading recently at $223.17, up 1.2% from the previous session's close.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.