NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Mastercard Inc. (MA) are slightly lower in pre-market trade after it was reported that the global payments company lost a court challenge to a EU antitrust curb on card-payment fees in a ruling that increases efforts to limit a cash cow for banks, Bloomberg reports.
The EU's Court of Justice ruled today that the fees set by MasterCard had unfairly restricted competition and that it failed to show benefits to justify its system.
The judgment may spur legal proceedings against card levies across Europe, including the U.K.'s stalled antitrust probe and lawsuits by retailers. EU lawmakers and governments are also weighing limits on the charges, Bloomberg said.
TheStreet Ratings team rates MASTERCARD INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate MASTERCARD INC (MA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- MA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.24 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, MA has a quick ratio of 1.51, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
- MASTERCARD INC has improved earnings per share by 14.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MASTERCARD INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus $2.57).
- The gross profit margin for MASTERCARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.59%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 39.16% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
- The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: MA Ratings Report