December 26, 2012 at 09:24 AM EST
Holiday Sales Growth Hits a Three-Year Low (MA)

On Wednesday data from Mastercard Inc. (MA) and other analysts showed that overall holiday sales were lackluster, hitting a three year low.

The Mastercard report showed that retail sales rose just +0.7% from last year. That was the slowest growth since a -5.5% decline in spending in 2008. These numbers include Mastercard sales and estimates for cash payments. Purchases of automobiles, groceries, and gasoline are excluded in the data.

Analysts commented that a decline in holiday spending was due to a number of factors including the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the looming “fiscal cliff” concerns, and a dampening of mood after the Newtown, CT. shooting.

Despite slow growth in overall holiday sales, e-commerce sales rose +8.4% from last year to $48 billion, according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse unit. Other analysts said e-commerce increased +16%, slightly lowered than the original +17% expectation.

Analysts will be keeping a close watch on MasterCard, Visa (V), Capital One (COF), and Discover (DFS) to get a better idea on the shopping trends this holiday season.

The Bottom Line
Shares of Mastercard (MA) have a .24% dividend yield, based on Monday’s closing stock price of $495.02. The stock has technical support in the $476-$480 price area. The shares are trading near all-time highs.

Mastercard Inc (MA) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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