Investments

Payments Stocks Skew To The Downside

Stocks rose and fell with all eyes on the Trump administration’s and Congress’ efforts to get health care reform passed. Obviously those efforts wavered and then collapsed into the end of the week. The impact on the markets may be broad, with little regard for each company’s prospects on a case-by-case basis. The markets rose on prospects of a Trumpian sea change in tax policy and investment in an infrastructure program aimed at stimulating the economy.

In payments stocks, the performance was mixed, with, as always, gainers and declining issues with a bit of skew to the downside. That may be because concerns touched on financial services, with worries about how legislation may proceed on the Hill — or not.  That downdraft continued into Monday’s open.

The standout in the plus column was Mitek Systems, up 8 percent, and a bit more, on the week, with the company announcing during that timeframe that it is now supporting mobile check deposit for B2B clients using the Ariba Network. As is well known, checks (the paper kind) are a stalwart in B2B transactions and a holdover that is widely acknowledged as being an inefficient process in getting firms paid.

Trailing a bit behind that was Everi, which showed a 3 percent gain for the period, and where the company had announced that it had completed a settlement with its former president and CEO, Ram V. Chary. Under the terms of that agreement, the firm will pay out $4.6 million, including $900,000 in legal fees. As had happened last year, Chary was let go by the firm.

And now looking at the stocks that fell for the week, Ingenico slipped 5 percent, with the denial last week by Atos that its Worldline Payments Business would be preparing a bid to offer as much as $8.6 billion for Ingenico. Reuters reported that the denial was a formal one. Close on the heels of Ingenico was Net1 UEPS Technologies, down a bit more than 4 percent, a drop also precipitated by a bit of merger denial as Allan Gray, the second biggest shareholder of the firm, said it would not make a hostile approach. Gray had made public concerns about deductions Net1 UEPS makes from checks paid to welfare clients in South Africa, as noted by moneyweb.com. Discover Financial Services slid nearly 3.5 percent, less on company specific news than possibly on the wavering seen in financial services in general into the end of the week.

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