MasterCard Charges Ahead

MasterCard ( MA) soared 13% after the credit card company posted a 63% jump in earnings.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the Purchase, N.Y., company made $314 million, or $2.31 a share, compared to $193 million or $1.42 a share in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 20% from a year ago to $1.08 billion.

The results included an after-tax gain of $70 million, or 51 cents a share, from MasterCard's sale of 25% of its stake in Brazilian credit card processor Redecard.

Analysts expected the company would make $1.42 a share on $1.03 billion of revenue.

MasterCard said the strong revenue was fueled by higher volume and increased spending on its credit cards across many regions.

Cramer Likes Mastercard

On a local currency basis, gross dollar volume rose 13% to $577 billion, while the number of transactions processed in the quarter rose 13% to 4.8 billion. Worldwide purchase volume rose 14% to $430 billion.

At the end of the quarter, 878 million cards had been issued, an increase of 13% from the year-ago period.

Investors continue to flock to MasterCard's shares. They have more than doubled this year even as a slowing economy and credit concerns have weighed heavily on other financial stocks, such as Citi ( C) and Merrill Lynch ( MER).

"Our solid performance illustrates the strength of our diverse, global business," said Robert Selander, MasterCard's chief executive. "We continue to benefit from positive secular trends and outstanding growth in international and emerging markets," such as South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

MasterCard's total expenses rose 16% in the quarter to $730 million, primarily driven by higher advertising and marketing spending.

Shares were most recently up $19.64 to $176.79.

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