Rise in Consumer Spending a Boon for These 3 Payment Stocks

Sticky inflation and dwindling pandemic savings couldn’t deter Americans from opening up their wallets. With jobs being added at a steady clip and wages improving, consumers went on a shopping spree in recent times.

The Commerce Department stated that consumer outlays increased by 0.8% in February, its largest jump since January 2023. Consumer spending also increased a 0.2% in January, underlining the economy’s resilience.

Additionally, sales at retail outlets rebounded in February after harsh winter weather conditions confined American shoppers to their home at the beginning of the year (read more: 5 Top Stocks to Gain on Signs of Household Spending Resilience).

Consumer sentiment about both present and future economic conditions, by the way, improved. The final reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 79.4 in March, the highest reading since July 2021.

Thus, with consumers being self-assured about their well-being, consumer spending is most likely to pick up in the near future. Now, with consumer outlays on the rise, payment processor companies like American Express Company AXP, Visa Inc. V and Mastercard Incorporated MA are all set to gain.

These companies, engaged in financial transactions between the merchant and consumers, undeniably make the most of an uptick in spending levels. This calls for shrewd investors to keep a tab on them.

American Express, being a financial service company, is involved in offering credit payment card products. American Express has been able to improve its revenues by banking on strategic alliances, cost control, and upgrading features of prevailing products to lure customers.   

American Express has a commendable capital position and has consistently generated cash. At the end of the fourth quarter, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $47 billion. Thus, the company is in a position to tackle adverse risks.

American Express has unswervingly paid dividends to its shareholders, a tell-tale sign that the company has a sound business model. In the past 5-year period, AXP has increased its dividend four times, and its payout has advanced 9.7%. American Express has a dividend yield of 1.05%. Check American Express’ dividend history here.

What’s more, American Express has kept its operational costs under control and generated enough income from sales since the company has a net profit margin of 13.8%, which is more than 10%, indicating a healthy margin.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has increased by 0.2% over the past 60 days. AXP’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 14.5%. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Visa is a payments technology company that operates worldwide, including in the United States. Visa’s successful acquisitions and initiatives to build long-term alliances boosted the top line.

An increase in business volume and processed transactions helped sales improve, while the company’s investment in technological advancements strengthened its financial position.

Visa has substantial cash and has steadily paid dividends. In the past 5-year period, V has increased its dividend five times, and its payout has jumped 15.7%. Visa has a dividend yield of 0.75%. Check Visa’s dividend history here.

Visa’s net profit margin is a superb 53.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-quarter earnings has increased by 2.5% over the past 90 days. Visa’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 12.8%. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Mastercard provides global payment solutions. Mastercard’s numerous acquisitions expanded its addressable market, while technological upgrades and improvement in core products drove revenues.

Mastercard is well-poised to repay its debt due to solid fundamentals and an inherent ability to generate continuous cash inflows. Mastercard is also known for paying constant dividends. In the past 5-year period, MA has increased its dividend five times, and its payout has climbed 13.9%. Mastercard has a dividend yield of 0.55%. Check Mastercard’s dividend history here.

Mastercard’s net profit margin is an encouraging 44.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has increased by 0.1% over the past 60 days. Mastercard’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 17.1%. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3.

Shares of American Express, Visa, and Mastercard have gained 20.4%, 6.9%, and 12.4%, respectively, so far this year.

Zacks Investment Research

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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