Visa Inc (NYSE:V) stock weighed on the markets today after the company revealed a less than stellar report about the first quarter of 2014. The company’s stock had fallen by more than 4% at the time of this writing on the weaker-than-expected numbers. The company’s worse-than-expected revenue made it appear as if the U.S. economy was not in a particularly good place in the first quarter of the year, and the company itself gave guidance that took away from expectations.
According to a report from Sterne Agee about the Visa Inc (NYSE:V) numbers, the company is likely to see rescued revenue growth through 2014 on the back of trends in the first quarter. Of particular interest are the headwinds from the company’s Russian business, as well as its problems with growth in the United States.
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What the bulls see in Visa
There is still an argument for being a bull on Visa Inc (NYSE:V), though the market may not agree today. The company is still growing its revenue, margins continue to be strong at the company and management appears to be in control of the situation, according to Sterne Agee analysts.
Visa Inc (NYSE:V) is in the payments business, leaving it especially prone to changes in the wider economy. The headwinds facing it, in particular the problems in Russia and the United States, are likely to hit major competitors like Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) as well. With management aware of the problems and proactive in admitting to and dealing with them, now might not be the worst time to see positives in Visa.
Visa earnings show struggling economy
2014, like every year of the last five, is expected to be the year in which the U.S. economy returns to growth. The stock market is primed, unemployment is falling and even the Federal Reserve has begun pulling back on stimulus. That’s the narrative that’s being touted, at the very least. Visa Inc (NYSE:V) earnings show a different situation, however, and it’s one that appears to have gotten under the skin of the company’s shareholders.
According to management at the payments processor, the U.S. economy is still growing, but there is little sign of acceleration. The firm’s revenue came in at 1% below the expectations of analysts. Of particular note was the lower than expected takings from the company’s debit card business, which slowed during the period.
The U.S. economy and the payments processors that lubricate it are inseparable, and it seems clear that Visa Inc (NYSE:V)’s results point to a sluggish North America. That may have been caused by the worse-than-usual weather in the first three months of the year, or they may be signs of deeper problems inside the United States that analysts have yet to uncover. Either way, Visa investors will be watching to see which way the wind is likely to blow.