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Mastercard Updates Q1 Guidance, Withdraws 2020 Outlook

By Eric Volkman - Updated Mar 25, 2020 at 3:45PM

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The company dampens expectations for both the current quarter and the full year.

Mastercard (MA 0.28%) joins the growing ranks of companies trimming, or even withdrawing, their guidance in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus threat

On Tuesday, the company said it believes it will post year-over-year net revenue growth in the low single-digit percentages for its current Q1 of fiscal 2020, and land roughly 1% to 3% below its former guidance for the quarter. Meanwhile, operating expenses are anticipated to rise in the low- to mid-single digit percentages.

As for the entirety of the fiscal year, the card giant is withdrawing its guidance entirely. It previously forecast revenue would grow in the low teen percentage range, with operating expenses rising in the high single digits.

Woman with a set of payment cards.

Image source: Getty Images.

Mastercard had an excellent 2019. Its revenue came in at $23 billion, which was 11% higher than the previous year. It managed to boost its non-GAAP (adjusted) net profit by a very healthy 15%. Before the global health emergency, the company was reaping the benefits of the "war on cash," in which commerce is increasingly being done with means such as credit/debit cards and e-payments. 

"The [coronavirus] outbreak has resulted in authorities implementing numerous measures to try to contain the virus, such as travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, shelter in place orders, and business shutdowns," the company explained.

"These measures have not only negatively impacted consumer spending and business spending habits, they have also adversely impacted and may further impact our workforce and operations and the operations of our customers, suppliers and business partners," it added.

Despite the company's dampened expectations, on Tuesday investors seem excited about the potential emergency stimulus bill hurtling through Congress (and its likely beneficial effect on consumer spending). A top stock in the card sector, Mastercard rose by nearly 17% -- well higher than the broader market. 


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