Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Mastercard (NYSE:MA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $277.00 price target on the credit services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Mastercard’s earnings of $1.78 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.66 and was up 18.7% year over year. Solid results were led by higher switched transactions, increase in cross-border volume and gross dollar volume, and gains from acquisitions, partly offset by an increase in rebates and incentives. Mastercard’s stock has outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company is poised for growth, given its solid market position, ongoing expansion and digital initiatives, and opportunities from the shift toward electronic payments. Its numerous acquisitions have aided revenue growth. However, escalating costs will put pressure on margins. Also, in order to gain customers and new business, Mastercard has been incurring quite high levels of costs under rebates and incentives, which remains a concern. Nevertheless, its strong balance sheet enables business investment, thereby driving growth.”

Other analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Deutsche Bank raised their price objective on Mastercard from $221.00 to $267.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Monday, April 1st. KeyCorp increased their target price on Mastercard from $230.00 to $265.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday. Citigroup increased their target price on Mastercard from $274.00 to $288.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. Raymond James increased their target price on Mastercard from $247.00 to $278.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Friday, April 26th. Finally, UBS Group increased their target price on Mastercard from $247.00 to $300.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, May 2nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-five have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $247.67.

MA opened at $247.17 on Monday. The stock has a market cap of $254.37 billion, a PE ratio of 38.08, a P/E/G ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 1.15. Mastercard has a 52-week low of $171.89 and a 52-week high of $257.43. The company has a quick ratio of 1.41, a current ratio of 1.40 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.12.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The credit services provider reported $1.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.66 by $0.12. The company had revenue of $3.89 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.86 billion. Mastercard had a return on equity of 129.95% and a net margin of 40.82%. The firm’s revenue was up 8.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.50 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Mastercard will post 7.6 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, insider Craig Vosburg sold 7,650 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $238.24, for a total transaction of $1,822,536.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 28,729 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,844,396.96. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, General Counsel Timothy H. Murphy sold 60,428 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $230.31, for a total value of $13,917,172.68. Following the sale, the general counsel now directly owns 46,331 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,670,492.61. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 381,530 shares of company stock valued at $93,705,711 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Clarius Group LLC boosted its position in shares of Mastercard by 45.9% in the 4th quarter. Clarius Group LLC now owns 2,355 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $444,000 after purchasing an additional 741 shares during the last quarter. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC boosted its position in shares of Mastercard by 1.0% in the 4th quarter. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC now owns 9,858 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $1,860,000 after purchasing an additional 101 shares during the last quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. boosted its position in shares of Mastercard by 5.1% in the 4th quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 1,271 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $239,000 after purchasing an additional 62 shares during the last quarter. Fort L.P. lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 73.5% during the fourth quarter. Fort L.P. now owns 8,274 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $1,561,000 after acquiring an additional 3,506 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Epoch Investment Partners Inc. lifted its holdings in Mastercard by 14.1% during the fourth quarter. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. now owns 42,036 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $7,930,000 after acquiring an additional 5,194 shares in the last quarter. 75.59% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Mastercard

Mastercard Incorporated, a technology company, provides transaction processing and other payment-related products and services in the United States and internationally. It facilitates the processing of payment transactions, including authorization, clearing, and settlement, as well as delivers related products and services.

Recommended Story: Correction

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Mastercard (MA)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Mastercard (NYSE:MA)

Receive News & Ratings for Mastercard Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Mastercard and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.