MasterCard ( MA) and Visa ( V) have been hard hit in recent months along with the rest of the financial sector, but the stocks offer some significant upside even with a possibly long downturn ahead. Investors are getting increasingly concerned about the resiliency of the two card network firms as U.S. troubles intensify and spread to other countries, even though two-thirds of the analysts who cover MasterCard and Visa call them buys or buy-equivaltents, according to Bloomberg. Visa, which reports third-quarter earnings after the market closes on Wednesday, is currently trading at about $49 a share, not much above the $44 a share it was when it went public at in March. The stock saw a high of $89.84 back in early May, but shares have been falling as the economy has worsened. MasterCard shares are down nearly 60% from their all-time high in late May after management gave an optimistic outlook during an investor conference. The Purchase, N.Y.-based card network, which reports results on Nov. 3, went public in May 2006. Analysts say that for the most part the concerns are overdone, as consumer sentiment reaches all-time lows. "People are basically concerned that both of these names are going to see a bit of a slowdown if people stop spending, but the reality is the secular trends that are in the payments industry are really going to be positive forces over the next few years," says John Williams, an equity analyst at Macquarie Capital, who has an outperform rating on both stocks. "They may see slower growth, but the growth rates are still going to be significant
over the next few years ."