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Mastercard Brushes Off Omicron Threat After Profit Beat

Mastercard Inc. beat quarterly profit estimates on Thursday as an uptick in international travel powered card spending and said a recent drag on cross-border travel from the Omicron variant was unlikely to persist.

Increased vaccinations and easing pandemic-related curbs had backed a recovery in spending, but rising COVID-19 infections from the Omicron variant pressured cross-border travel in the tail end of the fourth quarter and into January.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Miebach, however, said cross-border travel will return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.

“There are early signs that the Omicron will be relatively short-lived.”

Shares of the company rose 4.3 percent to $359.22 as cross-border volumes—a key metric that tracks card spending beyond the country of issue—surged 53 percent during the quarter.

Mastercard’s gross dollar volumes jumped 23 percent to $2.1 trillion from a year earlier. The metric represents the dollar value of the transactions processed.

Mastercard’s net revenue rose 27 percent to $5.2 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, above estimates of $5.16 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

But its operating expenses, excluding acquisition costs, rose 12 percent on the back of higher spending on personnel, marketing, and data processing.

Profit rose to $2.4 billion, or $2.41 per share, from $1.8 billion, or $1.78 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Mastercard earned $2.35 per share, above estimates of $2.21.



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