The stock had been modestly beating the market for much of the year, but those gains were supercharged following news of its acquisition of First Data Corporation.
That $22 billion deal was part of a wave of consolidation in the fintech space and lifted Wall Street's hopes that Fiserv could profit materially from payments processing and the war on cash. The company's 2019 earnings results supported that bullish assessment, with revenue rising 6% through the fiscal third quarter and operating margin improving by a full percentage point to 29.1% of sales .
In early November, Fiserv lifted its 2019 outlook on both earnings and sales growth following the closing of its acquisition of First Data. Management now sees core sales rising by 6% rather than 5% and earnings jumping by between 16% and 17%, as opposed to the initial target range of between 10% and 14%.
These brightening trends imply further gains for the stock in 2020, but that's assuming continued robust growth and no major negative surprises as the team works to integrate the First Data unit into the wider business.