MasterCard reports 3Q loss on settlement charge

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MasterCard Inc. said Monday that a hefty legal charge led to a third-quarter loss but the credit card processor's adjusted results beat Wall Street's expectations as dollar volume and the number of transactions both rose.

Despite some signs of slowing growth in the current quarter, Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard said it remains on track to meet its profit and revenue targets this year as it continues to benefit from consumers' migration toward plastic payments. Revenue in 2009, however, is expected to fall below the company's long-term growth target of between 12 and 15 percent.

Its shares jumped $11.81, or 8.2 percent, to $155.70 in after-hours trading.

"I think people are going to be happy with their results," said John Williams, a research analyst at Macquarie Capital. "It is somewhat a sigh of relief for people. They thought the world was ending and clearly it is not."

In the July-to-September period, MasterCard lost $193.6 million, or $1.49 per share. That compared with a profit of $314.5 million, or $2.31 per share, a year earlier.

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