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NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Shares of MasterCard Inc. (MA) - Get Mastercard Incorporated Class A Report are higher by 2.94% to $83.77 in mid-morning trading on Friday, after the credit card company reported its 2014 fourth-quarter earnings results that increased year-over-year and exceeded analysts' forecasts.

For the most recent quarter, MasterCard said it earned $801 million, or 69 cents per diluted share, compared to the $623 million, or 52 cents per diluted share it reported in the 2013 fourth quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting MasterCard to post earnings of 67 cents per share for the quarter.

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The company said its revenue grew by 17%, when adjusted for currency, to $2.4 billion over the year-ago period.

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Analysts had guided for revenue of $2.39 billion for the quarter.

"This year is off to a good start with several new wins, as well as renewals of some important customer agreements, with more in the pipeline. Looking ahead, we will continue to be at the forefront of our industry by driving payment innovation with solutions such as MasterPass, and by increasing electronic payments usage globally as demonstrated by our significant expanded acceptance footprint across Africa," company CEO Ajay Banga said.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates MASTERCARD INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate MASTERCARD INC (MA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 20.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • MA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.23 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, MA has a quick ratio of 1.56, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • MASTERCARD INC has improved earnings per share by 19.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MASTERCARD INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.08 versus $2.57).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the IT Services industry average. The net income increased by 15.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $879.00 million to $1,015.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MASTERCARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 60.05%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 40.55% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MA Ratings Report

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