Updated to include information in paragraph three.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It wasn't long ago the prevailing question concerning payment technology company VeriFone (PAY) was "how much time does it have left?" With shares up 26% for the year to date and 121% from its 52-week low, Wall Street now seems convinced the company isn't going anywhere.
The stock closed Tuesday at $33.96, up 0.27%. The company reports earnings Thursday.
The stock was not a compelling buy ahead of the earnings report because:
1. The shares had already produced strong gains despite the emerging threats of mobile payments.
2. We needed more clarity with the progress of the company's transition from hardware to a software/services platform.
3. VeriFone's operating margin had been under pressure due to rising expenses.
The payments industry is in transition. VeriFone, which has been the market leader for quite a while, has had a tough time embracing some changes -- particularly as the market shifts to mobile payments.
To counter the increased competition, last September eBay picked off payment services system Braintree for $800 million, a company that processed well over $12 billion in transactions per year.
Then there's Apple (AAPL), which has long been rumored to be releasing a mobile payment system that functions with the iPhone's biometric TouchID fingerprint sensor. I haven't even mentioned VeriFone's main point-of-sale (POS) rivals NCR (NCR) and Ingenico (INGIY), which have grown despite these threats.