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Visa profit jumps 35%

Visa Inc said on Wednesday its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 35 percent as the shift from cash toward electronic payments maintained its staying power, even while consumers tightened spending.

The results beat Wall Street expectations, and shares of Visa rose nearly 8 percent after the regular trading session. Visa also reiterated expectations for earnings growth of more than 20 percent for its current fiscal year, even though it scaled back its revenue forecast, warning of slower growth in the spring and summer of this year.

The world's largest electronic payment network reported net income of US$574 million, or 74 cents per share, for the three months ended on December 31.

That's up from US$424 million, or 55 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier, when Visa was privately held before its initial public offering last March.

Excluding several one-time charges and gains, Visa earned US$599 million, or 78 cents per share, in the latest quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, whose estimates typically exclude one-time items, had forecast a profit in the latest quarter of 66 cents per share on average.

Visa said its revenue rose 17 percent to nearly US$1.74 billion from US$1.49 billion, while operating expenses fell nearly 5 percent to US$773 million from US$810 million.

In aftermarket trading, Visa shares rose US$3.67, or about 7.5 percent, to US$52.80, from their close in the regular session at US$49.13.

Visa's payments volume jumped 12 percent over the same period a year ago to US$701 billion. Total cards carrying the Visa brand rose 10 percent to 1.7 billion.


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