Is the Credit Card Company Rally Coming to an End?

Mastercard-LogoMasterCard (NYSE:MA) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before the markets opened on Thursday that initially had investors bidding shares up as much as 3.75 percent in the pre-market. Shares hit $535.35, above a 52-week high of $532.47, before falling to open at $532 per share, and dropping from there.

Shares were effectively flat by afternoon trading as strong results were slowly eclipsed by the prospect of a weak 2013. Fourth-quarter net revenue increased 10 percent to $1.9 billion, while net income increased from $0.15 per share in 4Q 2011 to $4.88 in 4Q 2012. On a local-currency basis, MasterCard saw a 14 percent increase in gross dollar volume to $986 billion.

For the year, revenue climbed 10 percent to $7.4 billion, while earnings increased 18 percent to $22.04 per diluted share — by all measures a strong year. The company’s 2012 results helped catalyze a 33.4 percent climb on the stock chart, and on January 30 shares were up 45.1 percent year over year. The rally has been phenomenal, and not just for MasterCard…

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