American Express Could Hit 140 in the Fourth Quarter

Dow component American Express Co. (AXP) is trading marginally higher in Thursday’s pre-market after Bank of America Securities upgraded the stock from ‘Underperform’ to ‘Neutral’, posting a $169 price target.  The ratings change matches recent actions by Seaport Global Securities and Credit Suisse Group, highlighting analyst caution after the financial technology provider gained nearly 270% off the March 2020 low.

Delta Variant Stalls Business Travel Plans

The stock is highly levered to business and travel spending that’s been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth outlook looked bright at the end of the first quarter but the Delta variant has forced corporations to delay plans to reinstitute airline travel, having a negative impact on airline, hotel, conference, and food transactions. That headwind has also impacted rivals Visa Inc. (V) and Mastercard Inc. (MA), with the trio pulling back from summer peaks.

American Express released solid August card metrics on Wednesday, reporting a U.S. Consumer Card Member net loan write-off rate of 0.6% vs. 0.7% in the prior month, or a -10 bps change. Consumer loans 30 days or more past due stood at 0.6% vs 0.6% in the prior month, marking no change, while the U.S. Small Business Card member loan net write-off rate of 0.5% matched 0.5% in July. Loans that were 30 days or more past due rose slightly to 0.5%, compared to 0.4%.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus now stands at an ‘Overweight’ rating based upon 12 ‘Buy’, 1 ‘Overweight’, 13 ‘Hold’, 2 ‘Underweight’, and 1 ‘Sell’ recommendation. Price targets currently range from a low of $140 to a Street-high $227 while the stock is set to open Thursday’s session about $23 below the median $185 target. This low placement should favor a strong fourth quarter bounce but technical factors are telling a more bearish tale.

American Express topped out at 138 in January 2020 and sold off to a four-year low during the pandemic decline. The subsequent uptick reached the prior peak in February 2021, triggering an immediate breakout that posted an all-time high at 179.67 in July. A steady downtick since that time has flipped weekly and monthly Stochastics into sell cycles, predicting continued weakness that could reach 200-day moving average support near 150 in coming weeks.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held Visa in a family account at the time of publication. 

Selling Mastercard Too Early Cost Me $700,000

I’ll tell you with a personal story:

I found the band Phish in 1992. For me, they had it all: soaring guitar solos, classical-like passages, acoustic piano, crushing drums, thumping bass, and all sprinkled with jazz.

I saw them in May of 1993. They sold out 2,800 seats.

I expected perfection. But only caring about music, the hippy environment didn’t appeal, and some songs were too country. Silly stage antics dumbed-down monster musicianship.

My love grew conflicted.

Then I didn’t like their new albums. They were boring compared to live greatness. Growing impatient, I dropped being a “Phan”, returning every few years, only to drop them again.

During that, venues became huge. I saw a sold-out 2013 show at MSG with capacity of 20,789: 10x larger than my first show. They even played venues of 80,000+ people. They also grew a monster business.

Privately held details are murky, but get this: After 2019, Phish earned more at MSG than most Knicks players ever have: $50+ million. Career ticket sales exceed 11.4 million and $500 million. They have a streaming service selling subscriptions, content, and merchandise. I believe they eclipsed (or soon will) $1 billion of total revenue.

During lockdown, I’d take long bike rides, again rediscovering Phish as the perfect soundtrack. On July 31st, my son and I saw them in Atlanta. It was a great show, and the scene was crunchy as ever.

Love or hate it, Phish is an outlier. I wish I had stuck with them from the outset, warts and all. My fickleness made me miss their peak years.

It sounds like regretting stocks I sold too early: I’m picky, but too picky can be costly.

My Costly Trade With Mastercard

In October 2007, I took a quick 150% profit in Mastercard (MA). Seeing big money buying, I bought November $150 calls for $11.50.

Below is a chart of my favorite indicator for stocks: Big Money activity. Green bars show outsized trading activity for Mastercard (likely buying). Red is selling. I’ve circled the buy signal that had me near-term bullish on the stock back in 2007:

Source: ww.MAPsignals.com, FactSet

It was a good bet… Mastercard reported earnings on Halloween, shattering expectations; growing sales, earnings, their footprint, and guiding higher. MA gapped higher blowing through the $150 strike price of my calls, closing at $178.10, +25.5% higher than when I bought the options 6 days earlier. My calls surged more than +150% in a week! I couldn’t resist taking the profit… I pocketed my winnings and walked away. I got what I wanted.

Here’s the rub: Mastercard went on to become one of the all-time great outlier stocks. Since I exited that trade the stock is up +2300%.

Nobody goes broke taking a profit, but you don’t get rich leaving 2300% on the table either. In other terms: If I bought 2 calls, I would have made about $3,000 – awesome for a one-week trade.

But had I held 2 calls exercising my right to buy 200 shares of MA at $150, I would have spent $30,000 on the stock. It split 10-for-1 in January of 2014. 200 shares would have become 2,000 shares. Had I held it until today, it would be worth over $724,000.

I literally left a $721,000 profit on the table.

Here’s what I learned: a longer-term investment perspective makes it easier to ignore fluctuations along the way. It brings calm and reduces stress when stocks invariably face pressure.

Here’s the icing on the cake: when COVI-19 rocked markets last year, Mastercard dropped from $347 to $210. A disastrous fall of -40%.

But since the March 2020 low, Mastercard rallied to new highs: a 70+% gain!

Here is the MAPsignals summary of its outlier status. Those blue bars are the times Mastercard stock ranked well on fundamentals and saw Big Money buying in the shares.

Typically, the more the better. Here’s the long-term climb for the stock:

Life, like investing, isn’t perfect but chasing it can cause premature exits, missing the big wins. Phish ticked most boxes but wasn’t perfect. The Mastercard trade seemed perfect for the short-term but I missed the monster move.

The moral of the story is: when life gives you an outlier, have the long view.

Disclosure: the author holds no position in MA at the time of publication.

Learn more about the MAPsignals process here: www.mapsignals.com

Disclaimer

https://mapsignals.com/contact/

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

A Profit Warning Knocks PayPal Down Like a Rock

PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL), one of 2020’s hottest stocks, is trading lower by more than 9% in Thursday’s pre-market after issuing downside profit guidance for the third quarter and full year. The digital payments juggernaut beat Q2 earnings-per share (EPS) estimates by just $0.03, posting a profit of $1.16, while revenue rose 18.6% year-over-year to $6.24 billion, just missing $6.27 billion consensus. Total payment volume during the quarter grew 40%, or 36% on a currency neutral basis.

Pandemic Hangover

The company boasts a 55.7 price-to-earnings ratio (P/E), higher than American Express Co. (AXP) but on par with Visa Inc. (V) and MasterCard Inc. (MA). The weak outlook exposes vulnerability to a pandemic ‘hangover’ that many 2020 beneficiaries have reported in their quarterly results. Simply stated, the rapid transition into digital payments, streaming services, and at-home food delivery yielded a one-time cash influx that’s now reverting to historical performance.

The selloff comes just three business days before PayPal raises rates for many merchant accounts. Originally announced in June, the news triggered a strong rally into July but Q3 and full year profit warnings suggest the company miscalculated and now expects to lose customers. It may also have underestimated the growing number of choices in the digital payment space, heralding an era in which it will need to compete more forcefully for market share.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street has been wildly bullish on PayPal for months, holding like glue to a ‘Buy’ rating now based upon 35 ‘Buy’, 5 ‘Overweight’, 6 ‘Hold’, and 1 ‘Sell’ recommendation. Price targets currently range from a low of $250 to a Street-high $375 while the stock is set to open Thursday’s session more than $50 below the median $330 target. A quick uptick into the median price seems unlikely, given weak guidance, because it would require breaking out to a new high.

PayPal posted a phenomenal 219% return in 2020 and continued to book upside into the February 2021 high at 309.14. A decline into March found support in the 220s while the bounce into July mounted the first quarter peak by less than one point ahead of this morning’s selloff. The reversal reinforces resistance above 300 while setting up a test of 50-day moving average support at 285. A breakdown is possible given downside momentum, exposing an unpleasant trip to the March low.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication. 

Mastercard Profit Beats Estimates on Overall Spending Boost

The company’s shares rose about 2% in premarket trading as the upbeat results rounded out a positive quarter from payment processors including Visa Inc and American Express Co.

Mastercard’s cross-border volumes, which track spending on its cards beyond the country of issue, rose 58% on a local currency basis, driven by a pickup in international travel.

Volumes had plunged 45% in the same period a year ago.

“International travel is still in the early stages of recovery and represents additional upside potential,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Miebach said in a statement.

Cross-border volumes were the biggest headwind for Mastercard last quarter as COVID-19 travel curbs and border restrictions dampened international spending. The metric tumbled 17% at Mastercard in the previous quarter compared with an 11% fall at Visa.

Consumer spending saw a spike during the quarter due to massive government stimulus packages, sending Mastercard’s gross dollar volumes, or the dollar value of the transactions processed, up 33% on a local currency basis to $1.9 trillion.

Net income, excluding exceptional items, rose to $1.9 billion, or $1.95 per share, from $1.4 billion, or $1.36 per share a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.75 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

(Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Best Dividend Stocks August 2021

The hallmark way I go about finding the best dividend stocks…the outliers is by looking for quiet Big Money trading activity. Oftentimes, that can be institutional activity. I’ll go over why following the Big Money is so important in a bit. But, the 5 stocks I see as long-term dividend growth candidates are MA, SHW, WSM, EBAY, & ORCL.

Over decades, I’ve learned that the true tell on great stocks is that big money consistently finds its way into the best companies out there… especially dividend paying stocks. Some of the biggest returns ever have come from holding stocks for many years and reinvesting dividends.

I want the odds on my side when looking for the highest quality dividend stocks…and I own many of them.

So, let’s get into it.

Up first is Mastercard Inc. (MA), which is a large credit card company. They’ve been raising their dividend for years.

Let’s first start with the technical picture.

When deciding on a strong candidate for long-term dividend growth, I look for stocks leading in price:

  • 1-month performance (+7.08%)
  • Historical Big Money buy signals

Below are the Big Money signals Mastercard has made since 2015. Blue bars are showing that MA was seeing big buy activity according to MAPsignals. Typically, the more Big Money signals, the stronger the stock:

Chart, histogramDescription automatically generated
Source: MAPsignals.com

On top of technicals, when deciding on the best dividend stock, you should look under the hood to see if the fundamental picture supports a long-term investment. As you can see, Mastercard has a strong dividend history:

  • 3-year dividend growth rate (+45.7%)
  • Current dividend per share = .44
  • Forward yield = .45%
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+25.12%)

Next up is Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW), which is a leading seller of paint materials. They’ve also been a dividend grower for years.

When deciding on a strong candidate for long-term dividend growth, it’s a good idea to look for many years of dividend increases.

Now let’s look at the recent performance:

  • 1-month performance (+4.95%)
  • Historical big money signals

Below are the big money signals that Sherwin-Williams has made since 2015. I expect more buy signals in the years to come.

Chart, histogramDescription automatically generated
Source: MAPsignals.com

On top of technicals, when deciding on the best dividend stock, you should look under the hood to see if the fundamental picture supports a long-term investment. As you can see, Sherwin-Williams has a nice dividend history. Their earnings growth has been stellar as well:

  • 3-year dividend growth rate (+16%)
  • Current dividend per share = .55
  • Forward yield = .77%
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+11.87%)

Next, I’m looking at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM), which is a leading home retailer company. They have a solid dividend history.

When deciding on a strong candidate for long-term dividend growth, recent underperformance is not a bad thing:

  • 1-month performance (-1.15%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Below are the big money signals that Williams-Sonoma has made since 2015. It’s recently showed a Big Money buy signal:

Chart, histogramDescription automatically generated
Source: MAPsignals.com

On top of technicals, when deciding on the best dividend stock, you should look under the hood to see if the fundamental picture supports a long-term investment. As you can see, WSM has a strong dividend history:

  • 3-year dividend growth rate (+9%)
  • Current dividend per share = .59
  • Forward yield = 1.5%
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+46.58%)

Next, I’m looking at eBay, Inc. (EBAY), which is a leading online auction marketplace. They recently added a dividend.

When deciding on a strong candidate for long-term dividend growth, recent outperformance is great:

  • 1-month performance (+6.86%)
  • Recent Big Money signals

Below are the Big Money signals that eBay has made since 2015.

Chart, histogram

Description automatically generated

On top of technicals, when deciding on the best dividend stock, let’s check up on the fundamentals. As you can see, eBay has recently started paying a dividend.

  • 1-2 year dividend growth rate (+14%)
  • Current dividend per share = .18
  • Forward yield = .98%
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+130.48%)

Lastly, I’m looking at Oracle Corp. (ORCL), which is a leading enterprise technology company. They’ve been growing their dividend for years.

When deciding on a strong candidate for long-term dividend growth, I like to look for recent leaders:

  • 1-month performance (+12.11%)
  • Recent Big Money signals

Below are the Big Money signals that ORCL has made since 2015.

ChartDescription automatically generated
Source: MAPsignals.com

On top of technicals, when deciding on the best dividend stock, you gotta see if the fundamental picture supports a long-term investment. Oracle has been a steady grower:

  • 3-year dividend growth rate (+11%)
  • Current dividend per share = .32
  • Forward yield = 1.46%
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+93.1%)

The Bottom Line

MA, SHW, WSM, EBAY, & ORCL represent solid dividend choices. Given the strong historical dividend growth and Big Money signals, these stocks could be worth an extra look for a dividend investor.

Disclosure: the author holds no positions in MA, SHW, WSM, EBAY, & ORCL at the time of filming.

To learn more about the MAPsignals process, click here: www.mapsignals.com

Disclaimer

Mastercard Drops Branding From Copa America Amid Covid Concerns

By Carolina Mandl

In a statement to Reuters on Wednesday, Mastercard said it has decided not to “activate” its sponsorship of Copa America in Brazil after a thorough analysis. The payments company remains a sponsor of the tournament, as it has been since 1992.

Last week organizers of the Copa America, which kicks off on Sunday, unexpectedly relocated the tournament to Brazil after co-hosts Colombia were dropped due to civil unrest and Argentina withdrew following a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the severity of the coronavirus and fought against lockdowns, threw his support behind the move. But public health experts, Supreme Court justices and Brazilian footballers questioned the wisdom of hosting the tournament with a pandemic raging.

More than 475,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19, the world’s worst official death toll outside the United States, and experts warn of a third wave approaching along with winter in the southern hemisphere.

The Brazilian soccer team cited “humanitarian” concerns in a statement criticizing the organization of the Copa America on Wednesday, but they committed to participating in the tournament after rumours of a potential boycott.

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Brad Haynes and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

Microsoft, Mastercard Sign on to Vp Harris’s Central America Strategy

By Nandita Bose

President Joe Biden has tasked Harris with leading U.S. efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to deal with an increase in migration into the United States. Since then, Harris has taken a series of steps to improve conditions and lower migration from the region.

During the meeting on Thursday, Harris will urge businesses to make “new and significant commitments” to boost economic opportunities in the region, said the White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The meeting will be attended by top executives from yogurt maker Chobani, food giant Nestle’s Nespresso unit, financial companies Bancolombia and Davivienda as well as language-learning website Duolingo.

Non-profits Accion and Pro Mujer, along with the Tent Partnership for Refugees and Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health will also attend.

The 12 companies will announce measures to support such efforts, the official said. For example, Microsoft has agreed to expand internet access to as many as three million people in the region by July 2022 and Nespresso plans to begin buying some of its coffee from El Salvador and Honduras with a minimum regional investment of $150 million by 2025, the White House official said.

Chobani has agreed to bring its incubator program for local entrepreneurs to Guatemala while Mastercard will aim to bring five million people in the region who currently lack banking services into the financial system and give one million micro and small businesses access to electronic banking.

The U.S. vice president’s push to spur regional economic growth will focus on six areas.

These include expanding affordable internet access, combating food shortages by boosting farm productivity and backing regional efforts to fight climate change and make a transition to clean energy.

It will also aim to expand job training programs and improve public health access.

In April, Harris unveiled an additional $310 million in U.S. aid to Central America. She is expected to visit Guatemala and Mexico on June 7 and 8 – her first overseas trip as vice president.

U.S. officials see corruption as a major contributor to a migrant exodus from the region, along with gang violence and natural disasters, issues that represent hurdles for companies investing in the region.

Some Central American leaders recently pushed back on the Biden administration’s anti-corruption strategy, which included releasing a list labeling 17 regional politicians as corrupt.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Chizu Nomiyama)

Worried About A Market Crash? Consult The Big Money Index

And Consider These Stocks When It Does

They get cranky, roll over, fall out of bed, and hit their heads on the floor. It’s part of life, and most people don’t like when it happens.

But what if I told you there’s a tool that can alert you before markets roll-over?

It may sound too good to be true. But here I’ll introduce you to my favorite indicator that can do exactly that. I’ll show you how it works, what it’s saying now, and I’ll even show you examples of outlier stocks that weather the inevitable storms particularly well over the long-run.

The Big Money Index (BMI) is a great market timing indicator. It was developed by MAPsignals, a research firm dedicated to tracking Big Money investors in real-time. The idea is this: JPMorgan did a study estimating that 10% of all daily stock trading volume is due to fundamental discretionary traders. The lion’s share of trading is institutional.

If we can identify when huge investors are moving in and out of stocks in an unusual way, we can try and be ahead of the crowd. This way we can have a possible advantage and ride their coattails. We used our Wall Street experience of handling big stock orders to help us create this indicator. It’s our best guess of where the Big Money is heading on a daily basis.

When we add up all the daily buy and sell signals and smooth them out over a 25-day moving average, we get the Big Money Index.

Right now, it’s indicating higher prices for stocks. When it rises, like now, usually the market follows:

It looks like this:

MAPsignals.com

We’ve back-tested this indicator going back over 30 years. When overbought, (80% or more) markets crest shortly thereafter often preceding a market correction. These are rare occurrences: The BMI was overbought just 20% of the last 3 decades.

Rarer still is an oversold BMI: only 4% occurred the last 30 years. When the Big Money Index goes deeply oversold, that’s when history says stocks are bound to rise. Markets usually rocket higher weeks and months later.

Here are some recent examples of the Big Money Index accurately foreshadowing market peaks and troughs:

  • January 2018 peak
  • December 2018 trough
  • February 2020 peak
  • March 2020 trough
  • September 2020 peak
  • October 2020 Election volatility
  • November 2020 rally

If a deeply oversold Big Money Index is great for identifying buy opportunities, then how do we know when to side-step a market drop?

Below is the same BMI chart. Only we’ve added periods where the 10- day average was below 65%. That just basically means, the BMI was weakening. Here’s what we saw over the last three years:

When red comes, it generally lasts a while. This also corresponds to a falling then recovering index. When red starts, indexes usually fall. Red can only stop when Big Money buying lifts the average above 65%.

To summarize, when the BMI is falling, the S&P 500 is mostly flat:

From 2012, we see similar:

To avoid being left holding the bag when the next market drop comes, watch for a falling Big Money Index. Remember, Big Money means we’re trying to track institutional investors. They usually have an edge over everyone else. They tend to have the best market information out there. So, it’s best to watch them!

Now you know about the BMI. You know you can use it to potentially manage your risk. You know you should watch out for a falling BMI to alert you of danger ahead.

They say the best defense is a good offense. I told you I’d let you know which stocks to hold when that inevitable cranky stock market comes. To find them, I went back over the following periods of market turmoil:

Each of these drops was preceded by a falling Big Money Index. And each time the market troughed, I went and looked at which stocks came out with flying colors.

Market volatility is inevitable. But when it comes, we’ve found the best defense is owning outlier stocks. These stocks are the best of the best. They have growing sales, earnings, and profits. And they are also getting scooped up by Big Money investors.

Hidden in MAPsignals buy and sell signals are high-quality stocks that can offer opportunity when things get bumpy.

You’ll notice in the 6-year charts below, the green bars indicate Big Money buying when stocks have superior fundamentals. These are mother-outliers. All that green, we call the stairway to heaven. But even through periods of wicked volatility, these stocks do incredibly well over the long run.

Facebook Inc. (FB) rose 293% since 2015:

Source: MAPsignals, end of day data sourced from Tiingo.com

Mastercard Inc. (MA) rose 378% over the same period:

Source: MAPsignals, end of day data sourced from Tiingo.com

Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) rose an astounding 3,067% since 2015:

Source: MAPsignals, end of day data sourced from Tiingo.com

Compare those stocks with the SPY SPDR S&P 500 ETF which gained 129%.

These outlier stocks are ones I would want to own when the next market rough patch comes.

So, there you have it: a detailed playbook on how to forecast, avoid, and even defend against the next market crash. We all know it’s coming eventually, but now you can be armed with tools to help you through.

The next time markets get cranky, you just might already be out of sight avoiding it until happier days.

The Bottom Line

Trying to understand what the Big Money is doing is important. Currently the Big Money Index is pointing higher, which is near-term bullish. When it heads lower, I’ll be paying attention. I believe in looking for quality companies in times of turmoil.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money Index please visit: www.mapsignals.com

Disclosure: the author holds no positions FB, MA, NVDA, & SPY at the time of publication.

Investment Research Disclaimer

https://mapsignals.com/contact/

Mastercard, Rivals ‘Ran Cartel’ on Cards for the Vulnerable, UK Watchdog Says

Mastercard, allpay, APS, PFS and Sulion agreed not to compete or poach each other’s customers on cards used by local authorities for welfare payments to the homeless, victims of domestic violence and asylum seekers, the PSR said.

The investigation is ongoing and the companies can make representations on the provisional findings, the PSR said.

Mastercard, allpay and PFS have admitted liability and if the regulator ultimately concludes there is wrongdoing have agreed to pay maximum fines totalling more than 32 million pounds ($44 million), the watchdog said.

The PSR alleges two infringements of Britain’s 1998 competition law.

One breach took place over six years between 2012 and 2018 and involved all five firms, the PSR said.

The other lasted between 2014 and 2016 and involved APS and FPS, the watchdog said.

“Pre-paid card services, like these, can provide significant benefits to local authorities as one way to make welfare payments to some of the most vulnerable people in society,” said Chris Hemsley, managing director of the PSR.

“By colluding in this way, we consider the parties were acting as a cartel… Collusion in payments is absolutely unacceptable. Where we see it happening, we will take action, stop it, and seek to impose significant penalties.”

Mastercard, allpay, APS and PFS were not immediately available for comment. Sulion could not be reached.

(Reporting by Iain Withers; editing by Rachel Armstrong and Jason Neely)

Mastercard Joins Tesla, PayPal in Crypto Revolution

Payments giant Mastercard Incorporated (MA) announced Wednesday via a company blog that it plans to start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on its network later this year. The decision comes three months after rival PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL) said it would add select cryptocurrencies to its platform and several days after electric car maker Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) announced in an SEC filing that it has invested $1.5 billion into Bitcoin and plans to accept the pioneer crypto as payment.

Although Mastercard did not disclose which digital currencies it will support, a source familiar with the matter told CoinDesk that digital currency payments would settle in cryptocurrency at participating merchants. Mastercard already has existing partnerships with prominent crypto payment firms Wirex and BitPay but currently requires a conversion of digital currency payments back to fiat currencies on its network.

“Our change to supporting digital assets directly will allow many more merchants to accept crypto — an ability that’s currently limited by proprietary methods unique to each digital asset. This change will also cut out inefficiencies, letting both consumers and merchants avoid having to convert back and forth between crypto and traditional to make purchases,” wrote Raj Dhamodharan, the company’s executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products.

Through Wednesday’s close, Mastercard stock has a market capitalization of $332 billion, issues a modest 0.53% dividend yield, and trades 6.37% lower since the start of the year.

Wall Street View

Last month, Jefferies analyst Trevor Williams upgraded the stock to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ and raised the firm’s price target to $415 from $315. Williams argues that the company’s cross-border payments division, which accounts for around 25% of total revenues, sits well-positioned to benefit from a recovery in travel after the vaccine rollout.

Mastercard also racks up positive coverage elsewhere on Wall Street. It receives 29 ‘Buy’ ratings, 4 ‘Overweight’ ratings, and 9 ‘Hold’ ratings. Currently, no analysts recommend selling the shares. Look for further brokerage research in the weeks ahead after the company’s latest pledge to brining digital currencies to its platform.

Technical Outlook and Trading Tactics

Mastercard shares have formed a short-term inverse head and shoulders over the past two months, with the pattern’s head finding a confluence of support from the 200-day simple moving average (SMA) and a horizontal trendline. Furthermore, the relative strength index (RSI) sits just above 50, giving the price ample room to test higher prices before consolidating.

Those who buy here should consider setting a take-profit order near the stock’s all-time high (ATH) at $367.25 while managing risk with a stop placed beneath the pattern’s right shoulder at $330.

For a look at today’s earnings schedule, check out our earnings calendar.

Mastercard Shares Gain 4% After Q4 Earnings Beat; Target Price $384

Mastercard Inc, a leading global payment and a technology company, reported better-than-expected earnings in the fourth quarter of 2020 as customer spending recovered from the COVID-19 slump, sending its shares up 4% on Thursday.

The U.S. multinational financial services corporation said its net income declined 14% to $1.8 billion and net revenue slumped 7% to $4.1 billion, a tad higher than the Wall Street consensus estimate of $4 billion.

Mastercard’s (MA) 4Q20 results were above our/consensus revenue and adj. EPS estimates. Global GDV was up 1%, processed transactions were up 4% and cross-border volume was down 29% cc. January key metrics decelerated due to declines in International. Total switched volume was +3%, the US switched volume was +9%, ROW switched volume declined -3%, processed transactions were +3% and cross border volume was down 31%,” said George Mihalos, equity analyst at Cowen and Company.

Excluding items, Mastercard reported net income of $1.6 billion or $1.64 per share, compared with $2 billion a year earlier, or $1.96 a share. That was higher than the market expectations of $1.51 per share.

Mastercard continues to battle COVID-19-related headwinds and saw substantial year-over-year revenue and margin declines in the fourth quarter. However, there do appear to be some modest signs of improvement, and we believe that the long-term picture for this wide-moat franchise remains bright. We will maintain our $312 fair value estimate,” said Brett Horn, senior equity analyst at Morningstar.

At the time of writing, Mastercard shares traded 3.6% higher at $329.00 on Thursday; the stock surged about 20% in 2020.

Mastercard Stock Price Forecast

Twenty-one analysts who offered stock ratings for Mastercard in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months at $384.63 with a high forecast of $440.00 and a low forecast of $333.00.

The average price target represents an 18.09% increase from the last price of $325.72. From those 21 analysts, 19 rated “Buy”, two rated “Hold”, and none rate “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave a base target price of $375 with a high of $430 under a bull scenario and $217 under the worst-case scenario. The firm currently has an “Overweight” rating on the credit services provider’s stock.

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Keybanc raised the target price to $345 from $325. Citigroup upped the price objective to $385 from $355. Mastercard had its price target increased by analysts at Barclays to $380 from $360. The brokerage presently has an “overweight” rating on the credit services provider’s stock.

In addition, Seaport Global Securities issued a “buy” rating and a $370 target price. JP Morgan reduced their price target to $342 from $372 and set an “overweight” rating. Smith Barney Citigroup reduced their price target to $355 from $384.

Analyst Comments

Mastercard (MA) is one of our preferred stocks in the space. MA’s compounding growth drivers include resilient global consumer spend growth, market share gains, and the secular shift to the card from cash. As the second-largest global card network (behind Visa), MA is well-positioned to benefit from market share gains in particular regions and consumer spending trends, which have been fairly resilient even through economic cycles,” said Michael Cyprys, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“These trends should support double-digit revenue growth over the next few years. High incremental margins and opportunities to expand its Vocalink and B2B capabilities should enable the company to drive compounding earnings growth longer term.”

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

Earnings to Watch Next Week: Microsoft, Apple, Tesla and Facebook in Focus

Earnings Calendar For The Week Of January 25

Monday (January 25)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: KIMBERLY-CLARK

Kimberly-Clark, an American multinational personal care corporation, is expected to report a profit of $1.62 in the fourth quarter of 2020, which represents a year-over-year decline of about 5.2% from the same quarter a year ago when the company reported $1.71 cents per share.

However, Wall Street forecasts the company’s revenue to grow over 3% to $4.7 from the same period year ago. For full-year 2020, revenue is expected to be at $19.1 billion.

“We maintain our Buy-rating and above-consensus EPS estimate into KMB’s 4Q report BMO on Monday. Kimberly Clark’s (KMB) shares have lagged staples as the market remains concerned about moderating POS trends in Dec/Jan and commodities; however, we see an upside to Street 4Q20 and ’21/’22 ests. w/commodity inflation reasonably reflected at current spots and view the bar as low into the print w/KMB trading at 16x P/E (30% discount to HPC peers vs. 20% hist. avg.),” noted Kevin Grundy, equity analyst at Jefferies, who rated the paper products giant “Buy” and set the price target at $152.

Florida-based insurance broker Brown & Brown will post earnings of $0.29 per share for last quarter of 2020.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 25

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
CBU Community Bank System $0.76
BOH Bank of Hawaii $1.11
PHG Koninklijke Philips $1.04
KMB Kimberly Clark $1.62
WSFS Wsfs Financial $0.91
AUY Yamana Gold USA $0.11
CR Crane $1.10
HXL Hexcel -$0.20
BXS BancorpSouth $0.62
JJSF J&J Snack Foods $0.26
SFBS ServisFirst Bancshares $0.81
BRO Brown & Brown $0.29
GGG Graco $0.51
AGNC American Capital Agency $0.65
STLD Steel Dynamics $0.76
FUL HB Fuller $0.85
ACKAY Arcelik ADR $0.61
ASH Ashland $0.44
ELS Equity Lifestyle Properties $0.33
BKRKY Bank Rakyat $0.17

Tuesday (January 26)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MICROSOFT

MICROSOFT: The global technology giant is expected to report a profit of $1.64 in the fiscal second quarter, which represents year-over-year growth of about 8.6% from the same quarter last year when the company reported $1.51 per share.

The world’s largest software maker’s revenue is forecasts come at $40.23, up from the $36.91 billion reported the same quarter a year earlier.

“Q2 results likely highlight the durability of Microsoft‘s commercial businesses and conservatism in forward consensus expectations. After clearing tough Q2 product cycle comps and lingering COVID-19 impacts, strong secular positioning and an attractive multiple make Microsoft (MSFT) a top stock for the recovery,” said Keith Weiss, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“At 26x CY22e GAAP EPS, MSFT trades at a premium to the S&P, warranted due to MSFT‘s premium return profile. Multiple expansion will likely come from gaining comfort in the durability of commercial business gross profit dollars.”

Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive manufacturers of healthcare products, will post earnings of $1.83 per share for last quarter of 2020.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 26

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
NEE NextEra Energy $0.38
NEP Nextera Energy Partners $0.37
JNJ Johnson & Johnson $1.83
NVS Novartis $1.36
RTX Raytheon Technologies Corp $0.69
GE General Electric $0.09
AXP American Express $1.31
LMT Lockheed Martin $6.42
MMM 3M $2.15
PLD ProLogis $0.39
FCX Freeport-McMoran $0.38
PCAR PACCAR $1.21
ROK Rockwell Automation $1.89
DHI DR Horton $1.68
WAT Waters $2.87
IVZ Invesco $0.57
ALV Autoliv $1.92
PII Polaris Industries $2.90
ALK Alaska Air -$2.86
SNV Synovus Financial $0.81
PPBI Pacific Premier Bancorp $0.56
GATX GATX Corp $0.87
SFNC Simmons First National $0.42
XRX Xerox $0.63
CIT CIT $0.57
ADM Archer-Daniels Midland $1.10
RNST Renasant $0.59
MSFT Microsoft $1.64
TXN Texas Instruments $1.34
SBUX Starbucks $0.56
AMD Advanced Micro Devices $0.47
CNI Canadian National Railway USA $1.42
COF Capital One Financial $2.80
MXIM Maxim Integrated Products $0.68
VAR Varian Medical Systems $1.05
BXP Boston Properties $0.60
CHRW C.H. Robinson Worldwide $0.97
FFIV F5 Networks $2.44
WRB W.R. Berkley $0.79
EHC Encompass Health Corp $0.85
RNR Renaissancere -$1.92
SLGN Silgan $0.53
UMBF UMB Financial $1.32
NAVI Navient $0.83
WSBC WesBanco $0.61
FMBI First Midwest Bancorp $0.26
RXN Rexnord $0.38
EBAY eBay $0.84
HOG Harley Davidson $0.10

Wednesday (January 27)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: APPLE, TESLA, FACEBOOK

APPLE: The consumer electronics giant is expected to report profit growth of more than 12% of $1.41 in the fiscal first quarter of 2021 on sales of $102.61 billion, highlighted growth of over 11% from the year-ago quarter. That growth is largely driven by a strong demand iPhone handset, Mac computers, iPad tablets and wearables in the holiday season.

“Our December quarter revenue of $108.2B is 5% above consensus, while our EPS of $1.50 is 7% above consensus. We expect demand strength to continue and our FY21 revenue and EPS estimates are both 5% above consensus,” wrote Katy Huberty, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Given positioning into the quarter is muted after the rotation out of high-quality stocks over the past several months, we expect strong follow-through post-earnings and are buyers into the print. We also raise our price target to $152, from $144, as we mark our price target to market accounting for recent peer multiple expansion.”

TESLA: The California-based electric vehicle and clean energy company is expected to report a profit of $1.04 in the fourth quarter of 2020, posting a profit for the sixth straight quarter. The manufacturer of high-performance electric vehicles’ revenue is forecast to surge about 35% to $10 billion.

“A double-fly-wheel. We believe Tesla can leverage its cost leadership in EVs to aggressively expand its user base, over time generating a higher % of revenue from recurring/high-margin services revenue. Services drive the upside. We forecast Tesla’s (TSLA) network services EBITDA as a % of total TSLA EBITDA to reach 11% by 2025, 19% by 2030 and 37% by 2040. Tesla Service revenue includes automated driving, infotainment, upgrades, supercharging, maintenance, telematics, etc.,” said Adam Jonas, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Valuation supportive vs. tech. Including Network Services, Energy & Insurance to our core auto forecasts, at $810 Tesla trades at 25x EV/EBITDA in 2025 and 5x 2025 sales. Expensive vs. auto but not vs. software/tech comps.”

FACEBOOK: The world’s largest online social network is expected to report a profit of $3.16 in the fourth quarter of 2020, which represents year-over-year growth of 23.4% from the same quarter a year ago when the company reported $2.56 cents per share.

According to the Zacks Research, the social media conglomerate’s revenue will increase of 24.7% to $26.29 billion from the year-ago, largely driven by solid ad-revenue growth amid advertiser demand during the holiday period.

“Monetization Potential: We are positive on FB‘s monetization roll-out of Instagram as well as FB’s ability to continue to innovate and improve its monetization (Canvas Ads, Dynamic Ads, video). Combined with the high and growing engagement we see monetization upside going forward,” noted Brian Nowak, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Investing from Position of Strength to Drive Faster Long-Term Growth: We are modeling 29% GAAP opex (excl. one-time items) growth in 2021, implying an incremental $15bn in opex. Our base case model implies opex per employee moderates in ’21 while FB hiring remains roughly flat on an absolute basis. We believe FB will grow EPS at a 28% CAGR (2019-2022).”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 27

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
ANTM Anthem $2.53
GIB CGI Group USA $0.97
VFC VF $0.90
TDY Teledyne Technologies $3.05
KNX Knight Transportation $0.91
PB Prosperity Bancshares $1.35
OSK Oshkosh $0.73
NYCB New York Community Bancorp $0.26
CVLT Commvault Systems $0.47
EAT Brinker International $0.35
T AT&T $0.73
ABT Abbott $1.35
BA Boeing -$1.60
ADP ADP $1.29
NSC Norfolk Southern $2.49
PGR Progressive $1.64
GD General Dynamics $3.54
BX Blackstone $0.90
TEL TE Connectivity $1.28
APH Amphenol $1.02
GLW Corning $0.48
NDAQ Nasdaq Omx $1.46
MKTX MarketAxess $1.81
HES Hess -$0.65
ROL Rollins $0.11
TXT Textron $0.90
SEIC SEI Investments $0.78
PTC PTC $0.66
TTEK Tetra Tech $0.81
CACI Caci International $3.59
LSTR Landstar System $1.72
SLM SLM $0.36
RLI RLI $0.66
SLG SL Green Realty -$0.27
AXS Axis Capital -$0.28
AVT Avnet $0.39
CNS Cohen & Steers $0.68
CNMD CONMED $0.77
MTH Meritage Homes $3.33
CATY Cathay General Bancorp $0.76
ISBC Investors Bancorp $0.27
CALX Calix $0.33
CP Canadian Pacific Railway USA $5.03
AMP Ameriprise Financial $4.52
AAPL Apple $1.41
TSLA Tesla $1.04
FB Facebook $3.16
NOW ServiceNow $1.06
SYK Stryker $2.55
LRCX Lam Research $5.69
CCI Crown Castle International $0.62
EW Edwards Lifesciences $0.53
LVS Las Vegas Sands -$0.29
TER Teradyne $1.00
HOLX Hologic $2.17
URI United Rentals $4.26
DRE Duke Realty $0.16
RJF Raymond James Financial $1.65
PKG Packaging Of America $1.48
WHR Whirlpool $6.00
MKSI MKS Instruments $2.01
AZPN Aspen Technology $1.17
CREE Cree -$0.25
LPL Lg Display $0.19
CVBF CVB Financial $0.34
XLNX Xilinx $0.69
UMC United Microelectronics $0.08

Thursday (January 28)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Mastercard, McDonald’s, Visa

Mastercard Inc, a leader in global payments and a technology company, will post earnings of $1.53 per share for last quarter of 2020, which represents a year-over-year decline of about 22% from the same quarter a year ago when the company reported $1.96 cents per share.

McDonald’s Corporation, one of the world’s largest American fast-food chain, will post earnings of $1.79 per share for last quarter of 2020. Visa Inc is also expected to report first-quarter earnings on the same day, with earnings of $1.28 per share for the quarter.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 28

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
MKC McCormick $0.81
LEA Lear $3.40
FCFS FirstCash $0.82
VLO Valero Energy -$1.28
LUV Southwest Airlines -$1.66
AAL American Airlines -$4.12
NUE Nucor $1.16
MSCI Msci $1.92
JBLU JetBlue Airways -$1.67
FRME First Merchants $0.66
MA Mastercard $1.53
CMCSA Comcast $0.48
ATI Allegheny Technologies -$0.35
ABMD Abiomed $1.12
ADS Alliance Data Systems $2.44
TROW T. Rowe Price $2.64
MCD McDonalds $1.79
STM Stmicroelectronics $0.54
DHR Danaher $1.87
DOW Dow Chemical $0.64
CNX Consol Energy $0.16
SHW Sherwin-Williams $4.84
KEX Kirby $0.24
MO Altria $1.01
NTCT Netscout Systems $0.52
CFR Cullen/Frost Bankers $1.28
PNR Pentair Ordinary Share $0.63
TSCO Tractor Supply $1.47
PHM PulteGroup $1.39
EWBC East West Bancorp $1.01
RCI Rogers Communications USA $0.72
NOC Northrop Grumman $5.77
SWK Stanley Black & Decker $2.99
AIT Applied Industrial Technologies $0.74
BPOP Popular, Inc. $1.62
AOS A.O. Smith $0.58
XEL Xcel Energy $0.55
FLWS 1-800-Flowers $1.38
EXP Eagle Materials $1.74
MMC Marsh & McLennan Companies $1.13
COLB Columbia Banking System $0.60
BC Brunswick $1.02
FLEX Flextronics International $0.37
WRK WESTROCK $0.54
MTSI MACOM Technology Solutions $0.37
VLY Valley National Bancorp $0.25
PEXNY PTT Exploration & Production $0.01
DOV Dover $1.38
DLB Dolby Laboratories $0.34
FFBC First Financial Bancorp $0.45
HTH Hilltop $1.13
NATI National Instruments $0.13
RMD ResMed $1.25
GBCI Glacier Bancorp $0.74
ABCB Ameris Bancorp $1.16
CE Celanese $1.69
FIBK First Interstate BancSystem $0.80
JNPR Juniper Networks $0.53
SIGI Selective $1.20
V Visa $1.28
WDC Western Digital $0.52
EGHT 8X8 -$0.03
X United States Steel -$0.62
FHI Federated Hermes Inc $0.78
AJG Arthur J. Gallagher $0.78
SWKS Skyworks Solutions $2.08
OLN Olin -$0.11
MDLZ Mondelez International $0.66
PFG Principal Financial $1.42
EMN Eastman Chemical $1.50
ORI Old Republic International $0.43
FICO Fair Isaac $2.35
MSTR Microstrategy $1.62
RHI Robert Half International $0.68
LANC Lancaster Colony $1.57
RDN Radian $0.60
CAJ Canon $0.31
TOELY Tokyo Electron Ltd PK $0.78
HOCPY Hoya Corp $0.84
DGE Diageo £80.90
KPELY Keppel Corporation -$0.05
NVR NVR $78.78
FFIN First Financial Bankshares $0.37

Friday (January 29)

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
PSXP Phillips 66 Partners $0.89
JCI Johnson Controls $0.40
AN AutoNation $2.05
HON Honeywell International $2.00
MSGS Madison Square Garden Sports -$1.63
ATLCY Atlas Copco ADR $0.39
SAP SAP $1.95
LLY Eli Lilly $2.37
CHD Church Dwight $0.52
LHX L3Harris Technologies Inc $3.09
CL Colgate-Palmolive $0.76
BAH Booz Allen Hamilton $0.93
BBVA Banco Bilbaoizcaya Argentaria $0.13
ERIC Ericsson $0.20
RDY Drreddys Laboratories $0.58
CVX Chevron $0.07
SYF Synchrony Financial $0.89
CAT Caterpillar $1.48
CHTR Charter Communications $4.82
PSX Phillips 66 -$0.81
BMI Badger Meter $0.43
GNTX Gentex $0.50
ROP Roper Industries $3.49
WY Weyerhaeuser $0.42
LYB LyondellBasell Industries $1.36
ROLL Rbc Bearings $0.82
FBP First Bancorp FBP $0.18
KKR KKR & Co LP $0.41
HMC Honda Motor $0.89
GCTAY Siemens Gamesa ADR $0.02
NNIT Nnit A/S kr1.62
SPG Simon Property Group $0.85
ASEKY Aisin Seiki Co $1.19
ALNPY ANA Holdings ADR -$0.35
KMTUY Komatsu $0.26
TTM Tata Motors $0.17
TOTDY Toto $0.46

 

Mastercard Shares Slump Over 6% as Q3 Earnings Miss Estimates; Target Price $370

Mastercard Inc, a leader in global payments and a technology company, reported a lower-than-expected profit in the third quarter as people cut on their spending amid the COVID-19 led economic recession, sending its shares down over 6% on Wednesday.

The U.S. multinational financial services corporation said its net income plunged 28% to $1.5 billion or $1.51 per share in the third quarter. Excluding items, profit was $1.60 per share. That was lower than the market expectations of $1.66.

“A rare EPS miss ($1.60 vs. JEFe/Street $1.63/$1.65) as revs came in ~3% light of Streeton notable weakness in Other, Cross-Border, and lower yields in Txn Processing. OpEx~6% below Street helped partially offset. US vols. through Oct. likely skewed by Prime Day, and could imply m/m decel when normalized, while Int’l rebound continues. Cross-Border ex-EU still down mid 40’s y/y, as card-present vols. retraced in Oct, coinciding w/tighter COVID restrictions,” said Trevor Williams, equity analyst at Jefferies, who gave a target price of $330.

“The continued recovery in International vol. growth (-3% July, +1% Aug, ~flat Sept, +1% Oct) is one silver lining in the results,” Williams added.

The credit services provider said its third-quarter net revenue decreased 14% on both an as reported and a currency-neutral basis to $3.8 billion. Third-quarter gross dollar volume up 1% and purchase volume up 2%, returning to positive territory, the company said.

At the time of writing, Mastercard traded over 6% lower at $296.95 on Wednesday; the stock is down about a percent so far this year.

Executive Comments

“We are seeing encouraging progress in the trajectory of domestic spending, while travel spending remains a challenge. Meanwhile, we are winning new business in core payments and are making real progress with our digital solutions, differentiated service offerings and multi-rail capabilities,” said Ajay Banga, Mastercard CEO.

Mastercard Stock Price Forecast

Twenty-two equity analysts forecast the average price in 12 months at $370.32 with a high forecast of $415.00 and a low forecast of $330.00. The average price target represents a 24.80% increase from the last price of $296.74. From those 22 analysts, 19 rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” and none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $359 with a high of $417 under a bull-case scenario and $215 under the worst-case scenario. The firm currently has an “overweight” rating on the credit services provider’s stock. Mastercard had its stock price forecast increased by KeyCorp to $365 from $340. The brokerage currently has an “overweight” rating.

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Barclays increased their price objective on shares of Mastercard to $385 from $360 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in Sept. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “buy” rating. In July, Daiwa Capital Markets reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $314 price target. Goldman Sachs Group initiated coverage with a “buy” rating and a $364.00 price target.

Analyst Comments

“Mastercard (MA) is one of our preferred stocks in the space. MA’s compounding growth drivers include resilient global consumer spend growth, market share gains, and the secular shift to card from cash. As the second-largest global card network (behind Visa), MA is well-positioned to benefit from market share gains in particular regions and consumer spending trends, which have been fairly resilient even through economic cycles,” said James Faucette, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“These trends should support double-digit revenue growth over the next few years. High incremental margins and opportunities to expand its Vocalink and B2B capabilities should enable the company to drive compounding earnings growth longer term,” Faucette added.

Upside and Downside Risks

Upside: 1) Uptick in consumer spending trends. 2) New client wins in the US/Europe – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Downside: 1) Impact from regulatory action in Europe and elsewhere. 2) Material slowdown in consumer spending. 3) Potential for market share loss in Europe as V becomes more aggressive.

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

American Express Could Sell Off To March Low

Dow component American Express Co. (AXP) reported mixed Q2 2020 results last week, with $0.29 per-share (EPS) beating profit estimates, while revenue of $7.67 billion fell well short of $8.25 billion expectations. Revenue contracted a staggering 29.2% year-over-year, undermined by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The release triggered a modest sell-the-news reaction, dropping the stock 1.4% to a 2-week low.

American Express Heavily Exposed To Business Travel

The travel services giant has been pummeled by the pandemic, losing significant income since corporations worldwide stopped business travel in the first quarter and sent employees home to work through virtual meeting spaces. Many industry experts now believe that many of Amex’s blue chip customers will remain sidelined well after the infection runs its course, addicted to the lower costs of conducting business digitally, rather than in person.

Executives summed up the tough quarter, noting “while our second quarter results reflect the challenges of the current environment, we remain confident that our strategy for navigating this period of uncertainty is the right one. Our customers continue to be engaged with our products and services; we have a productive and dedicated workforce; our capital and liquidity levels remain strong; and we continue to focus on those areas most critical to our long-term growth.”

Wall Street And Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus has grown increasing cautious on American Express in the last two months, unlike Mastercard Inc. (MA) and Visa Inc. (V), who have continued to book significant income through high volumes of digital transactions. It’s currently rated as a ‘Hold’, based upon 6 ‘Buy’ and 9 ‘Hold’ recommendations. Three analysts are now telling shareholders it makes sense to sell positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets range from a low of $85 to a street high $119 while the stock is trading about $6 below the median $101 target.

Technically-speaking, there’s little to love about American Express, which looks like a better short sale opportunity than long-term investment through the second half of 2020. It posted an all-time high in January, fell more than 50% into March, and reversed at the 200-day moving average in June, settling in the lower half of the 6-month range. Ominously, accumulation readings have dropped to depressed March levels, predicting that price may soon follow.