Share price: $690
Year-to-date gains: 41%
Mastercard (MA) is doubling the broader market with a climb north of 40% so far this year. And the reasoning is pretty simple: More and more people are switching from cash to plastic for their payments.
The only cause for concern is that Mastercard and Visa (V) have been involved in a long-running battle over credit-card swipe fees with merchants. But investors have believed in the stock despite the back and forth — and for good reason.
Mastercard has a steady track record of beating Wall Street expectations. In the most recent quarter, for one, the company beat on top and bottom lines thanks to an increase in volume and transactions, especially in emerging markets. That international exposure will help fuel growth down the line, too.
The payment processor — which doesn’t actually issue cards or hold consumer debt — has been able to grow earnings by nearly 30% per year over the past half-decade … and is still slated to add another 19% per year for the next half-decade.
Even if now isn’t necessarily the right time to get in after the stock’s sizzling run, the high-priced highflier should definitely be on your radar.