MasterCard's 1Q Profits Rise 12%, Revenue Comes up Shy


MasterCard (NYSE:MA) posted a stronger-than-expected 12.3% increase in first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, but the card giant’s revenue trailed forecasts despite double-digit dollar and purchase volume growth.

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Shares of the No. 2 credit and debit card network retreated about 2% in premarket action amid disappointment over the top-line miss.

MasterCard said it earned $766 million, or $6.23 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $682 million, or $5.36 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been anticipating EPS of $6.18.

On the other hand, revenue rose 8.4% to $1.91 billion, barely trailing the Street’s view of $1.93 billion.

In the face of the sluggish U.S. economy, MasterCard reported a 12% jump in gross dollar volumes in the first quarter to $947 billion and a 10% increase in purchase volume to $690 billion. Processed transactions increased 12% to 8.7 billion.

“We delivered solid performance that met our expectations despite the mixed global economic environment," CEO Ajay Banga said in a statement.

MasterCard said its total operating expenses rose 6% to $799 million during the first quarter amid higher personnel expenses.

The card company said it bought back about 1.48 million shares last quarter, spending about $766 million to return cash to shareholders. MasterCard has about $1.7 billion remaining under its current buyback plan.

Wall Street punished Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard for the sales miss, driving its shares down 1.62% to $544.00 in premarket trading Wednesday morning. MasterCard had been up 12.5% on the year and 21% over the past 12 months.