Visa, Square soar to all-time highs on bullish stampede into payments
Visa and Square reached record highs Thursday amid analysts’ upgrades and investor enthusiasm for these companies’ new initiatives and the volume of cash generated in the payments business.

Square (NYSE: SQ) hit an all-time high of $71.32 in Thursday’s mid-day trading, before closing in New York at $70.32, up $2.03 or almost 3 percent. San Francisco-based Visa (NYSE: V) also hit an all-time high of $140.99 today before closing at $140.13, down 77 cents or 0.6 percent.

Today’s performance is all the more impressive since the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 134.79, or 0.5 percent.

Call of the day: Square upgraded to $81 by Credit Suisse from CNBC.

“These are some of the best businesses there are,” Morgan Stanley’s James Faucette and his team told clients today in upgrading the payments and processing industry to attractive. The brokerage sees Visa and MasterCard (NYSE: MA) benefiting from the growth of consumer spending, especially ecommerce, and the two companies’ initiatives to facilitate business-to-business payments to compete against checks and wire transfers.

San Francisco-based Square, which has almost doubled since the start of the year, was upgraded to “outperform” from “neutral” by Credit Suisse analyst Paul Condra.

Condra sees Square’s free cash flow tripling by 2019, CNBC reported. That growth will be fueled in part by the growing use of Square’s services by larger companies as well as expanded offerings such as the increasingly popular Square Cash.
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