How Will Visa (V) Stock Respond To These Coverage Initiations?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Visa Inc  (V) are up 0.39% to $215.48 in pre-market trading after the company had coverage initiated by analysts at three firms; Sterne, Agee & Leach, Sanford C. Bernstein and Piper Jaffray Companies (PJC)  this morning.

Visa was rated a new "buy" with a $265 price target at Sterne Agee, a new "outperform" with a $262 price target at Bernstein, and a new "overweight" with a $265 price target at Piper Jaffray.

Analysts at Sterne Agee added that Visa remains well positioned to benefit from the global secular shift to electronic based forms of payments and with upside from any improvement in consumer spending.

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Separately, "We rate VISA INC (V) 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 increase in stock price during the past year. 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 12.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • V has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.45, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • VISA INC has improved earnings per share by 15.4% 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, VISA INC increased its bottom line by earning $7.58 versus $3.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.98 versus $7.58).
  • The gross profit margin for VISA INC is rather high; currently it is at 67.48%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 43.10% 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: V Ratings Report

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