KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Josh Beck downgraded shares of Visa Inc. (NYS:V) and Mastercard Inc. (NYS:MA) to sector weight from overweight, writing that there could be more challenges ahead for the payments giants as they navigate the pandemic. Beck wrote of "the prospect of sustained cross-border travel headwinds and the associated reduced visibility trading at relatively full multiples" in a note to clients late Tuesday. Beck said that the International Air Transport Association projects that air travel won't return to 2019 levels until 2024 in its baseline forecast. He maintained his "favorable long-term bias on the secular opportunity for digital payments, management execution, and competitive moat." Mastercard is due to report fourth-quarter earnings Thursday morning while Visa delivers its own numbers Thursday afternoon. Mastercard shares are up 3.3% over the past three months as Visa shares have gained 6.3%. The S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) has risen 13.5% over that span.
Jan. 27, 2021, 9:07 a.m. EST