First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) reported earnings before the market opened today, including a successful flip in earnings. The market is clearly impressed, pushing the stock up around 12% as of 11:30 a.m. EST.
For the quarter ended Sept. 30, First Data reported sales of $2.8 billion, a 1% climb year over year. While sales only slightly rose, earnings turned 180 degrees. Net income came in at $132 million, compared to a net loss of $126 million in the third quarter of 2015. On a per-share basis, earnings were $0.14, beating analyst expectations.
First Data's sales consist of small transactions fees from the millions of customers who use its services in 118 countries around the world. According to CEO Frank Bisignano, "During the quarter we saw tangible improvements in our North America merchant business, continued success with enterprise clients and strong growth in non-U.S. revenue."
A few factors have led to First Data's recent success in the last few quarters, one of which was an increase in important partnerships. In the second quarter, First Data announced a new partnership with Bancolombia, the largest bank in Colombia. In late October, First Data announced that it has partnered with Alipay, the massive online payment platform in China.
First Data shares had declined around 17% so far in 2016 before this announcement, and even after today's rise, they are still slightly down year to date, at around $15 a share. First Data has had some analyst praise in the last few months, with recent buy rating upgrades. The stock has an average $16 price target, a slight potential increase even following today's jump.