Financial Winners and Losers: MasterCard

(Includes closing stock prices.) NEW YORK ( TheStreet -- Blowout second-quarter earnings by the credit card companies set the financial sector on an upward trajectory on Thursday.

MasterCard ( MA) beat Wall Street's top- and bottom-line estimates, in part by raising fees and cutting costs, as it reported before the market opened on Thursday. Expenses dropped by 13% and net revenue increased 2.7% giving the company earnings of $2.67 for the second quarter. The stock jumped over 10% in early trading and closed up $5.56, or 3%, $194.11.

Card processor Visa ( V) reported similar results after the close on Wednesday, easily beating analysts' earnings estimates. Expecting customers to cut back on credit card spending, Visa compensated by reducing expenses, which helped it achieve the impressive results. Net income rose 73% to $729 million. Excluding the sale of VisaNet do Brazil, the company still delivered adjusted net income for the second quarter of $507 million, or 67 cents per share, vs. the consensus 64 cents per share predicted by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Shares finished up 43 cents, 0.6%, to $67.21.

The NYSE Financial sector index climbed 96.62 to 4299.19 and the KBW Bank index added 1.32 to 39.99, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 83.74 points to 9154.46.

Barclays stepped up to provide CIT Group ( CIT) with a $3 billion line of credit. The show of support boosted the stock 12.8% to 88 cents. CIT has been fighting for survival over the past few weeks, as many expected the company to file for bankruptcy. "The company had received commitments from lenders for $2 billion in financing under the Amended and Restated Credit Facility, which has been fully drawn," the company said.

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