Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

Why Mastercard Stock Is Up 40% So Far in 2019

By John Ballard - Jul 10, 2019 at 1:52PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The payments provider continues to click on all cylinders, which sent the stock soaring to start the year.

What happened

Shares of Mastercard ( MA 4.54% ) climbed 40.2% in the first half of 2019, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The company finished 2018 with tremendous momentum, as revenue and adjusted (non-GAAP) earnings per share rose 17% and 40%, respectively, in the fourth quarter. Mastercard's consistency in generating robust growth rates like this every year is why investors typically award the shares a premium valuation.

A young woman using a laptop and holding a credit card in her hand


The company reported a strong start to 2019, with revenue and adjusted earnings up 13% and 24% year over year, respectively, on a currency-neutral basis. However, the main reason for the 40% climb in the stock price can be attributed to an increase in the forward price-to-earnings ratio, which was 24 at the start of the year, but has risen to 35 recently.

So what

Investors are increasingly bullish on the company's prospects, due to the increasing adoption of digital payments and Mastercard's investments in areas of the business that should keep the momentum going.

Mastercard recently partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch the new Apple Card, which takes advantage of Mastercard's tokenization technology to prevent fraud. Mastercard is also looking to partner with Goldman Sachs on other new products.

The payments leader is also making headway with other partners, including Target, Japan Airlines, and MercadoLibre's fast-growing e-commerce platform in Latin America. Mastercard has also made a few acquisitions recently, such as Ethoca and Vyze; they will build on the company's advantage in fraud prevention and help Mastercard serve merchants that are starting to offer more finance options to consumers, including "buy now, pay later" payment plans.

Now what

There's plenty of momentum at Mastercard, but the expansion in the stock's forward P/E may leave limited upside in the near term. The higher valuation is a head-scratcher, since management's three-year outlook calls for slower growth through 2021 compared to the last three years.

Mastercard's revenue and adjusted earnings increased at compound rates of 15% and 28%, respectively, from 2016 through 2018. However, over the next three years, the outlook calls for revenue growth in the low teens, and adjusted earnings in the high teens.

It's questionable whether the stock can continue to deliver strong gains for investors in the short term, especially since on a trailing P/E basis, shares are trading at their highest valuation in the last decade.

To justify the stock's expensive price tag, investors will certainly be looking for more impressive results.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Mastercard Incorporated Stock Quote
Mastercard Incorporated
$320.20 (4.54%) $13.92

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/03/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.