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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MA - not just about Europe

Goldman may have used Europe to downgrade MA, but the more concerning aspect for the processors is the increased competition.  There has been a few major competition announcements in the last few days:

1. Online payment systems entering the brick-and-mortar locations. (PayPal) The approach is interesting, and potentially very dangerous to the Big Two.  PayPal is using a 3rd party (AJB Software) to manage the relationship with the retailer.  This is not an exclusive deal, and potentially allows other online payment systems to enter this space fairly easily.

2. Europe lowering the barriers to entry.

I am more concerned about the above effects on growth rates and ability to increase pricing, which will merit a lower multiple going forward, then a slowdown in Europe. (Although a European slow down is a concern.)

With the technical breakdown via the daily chart, the momentum players are out of this name. (Unless some fundamental news develops that eases the above concerns. 320 looks like an interesting level.

Fundamentally, a move to 320 is possible, as MA has see a trailing PE near 16 over the past 2 years. But with a trailing multiple of 16, imo, that more than discounts the above concerns.

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