Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Kenneth Bruce rates Visa a "buy," and on Thursday raised his price target for the shares to $180. The price target "is based on a 21x multiple to our 2014E EPS forecast of $8.55, at the higher-end of the company's historical multiple range," Bruce wrote.

The analyst said Visa's long-term performance justifies a significant premium for the stock over peers. "Despite an adverse regulatory environment and sluggish economic growth the past several years, V managed 30% EPS growth per annum, demonstrating its durable operating model and providing investors a defensive posture given the continued economic uncertainty."

V Chart V data by YCharts

Interested in more on Visa? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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