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MasterCard profit beats estimates as consumer spending climbs

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MasterCard Inc, the second-largest payments network, posted profit that beat analysts' estimates as consumer card spending climbed.

[WASHINGTON] MasterCard Inc, the second-largest payments network, posted profit that beat analysts' estimates as consumer card spending climbed.

Third-quarter net income fell 3.7 per cent to US$977 million, or 86 cents a share, from US$1.02 billion, or 87 cents, a year earlier, the Purchase, New York-based company said Thursday in a statement. Profit excluding one-time items was 91 cents a share, compared with the 88-cent average estimate of 31 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The adjusted results include a US$50 million charge tied to the termination of the company's US pension plan.

Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga is investing in new technologies and forging partnerships with companies including Apple Inc as consumers increasingly use mobile phones and other digital devices to make payments. The company is among backers of Barry Silbert's Digital Currency Group, which invests in bitcoin-related businesses.

"We continue to see double-digit growth in both volume and transactions in most of our regions around the world," Mr Banga, 55, said in the statement.

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A stronger dollar has hurt revenue gains overseas and lower US gas prices have crimped payments at the pump even as spending on MasterCard's network climbed. The company in September forecast slower growth in earnings per share from 2016 to 2018 compared with the previous three-year period. USAA, which serves members of the US military and their families, said this month it was switching from MasterCard to rival Visa Inc. to process its debit and credit-card payments. A MasterCard spokesman said the USAA loss had already been factored into the company's three-year financial goals.

MasterCard shares climbed 16 per cent this year through Wednesday, beating the 7.3 per cent advance of the 69-company Standard & Poor's 500 Information Technology Index.

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