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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: MasterCard, Discover Financial Services, Fidelity National Information Services, Global Payments and Novartis

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – January 24, 2013 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include MasterCard Incorporated (MA), Discover Financial Services (DFS), Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), Global Payments Inc. (GPN) and Novartis (NVS).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

MasterCard for Easier EMV Migration

MasterCard Incorporated (MA) recently decided to provide other U.S. debit networks with the some of the payment technology solutions it owns. MasterCard took such a step to support the prevalent trend of acceptance of EMV solutions (EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa).

Through this deal the company will allow debit networks, merchants, acquirers and processors to have access to MasterCard’s market-ready EMV solution. As a result, financial institutions can start issuing EMV cards immediately. This would save precious time for these institutions which otherwise would have to strive for new standards.

MasterCard will open this technology by allowing all debit networks within the United States to use their brand name for the payments processed through Maestro AID (application identifier).

MasterCard has been undertaking deals for some time now to promote electronic payment solutions in the U.S. Through this current move, the company aims to reduce chip entry costs and complications in implementing EMV. As a result merchants and acquirers will be able to maximize their investments and select their debit networks. This will give them an upper hand in the contemporary processing system where migration to EMV cards is much in vogue.

Earlier in December 2012, MasterCard joined hands with mobile wallet and transactions platform provider C-SAM to deliver mobile commerce solutions to customers globally.

MasterCard is expected to release its fourth-quarter and full year 2012 earnings results on Jan 31. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter of 2012 is pegged at $4.79, up 18.9% year over year. Earnings for the full year 2012 are expected at $21.99, up 17.6 % year over year.

Earlier this month, Discover Financial Services (DFS) launched the new Cadence Bank Debit Card through its alliance with Birmingham-based Cadence Bank. Through this alliance, Discover Debit will provide network support to the Cadence debit card holders in the second quarter of the year.

MasterCard carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Payment processors Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) and Global Payments Inc. (GPN) carry a favorable Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and are worth noting.

Positive CHMP Opinions for Novartis

Novartis’ (NVS) global eye care division, Alcon, recently received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for Jetrea (ocriplasmin). Jetrea is under review in the EU for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (:VMT) including instances where the macular hole diameter is less than or equal to 400 microns.

The CHMP’s opinion was based on data submitted from two pivotal phase III studies which showed that Jetrea successfully resolved VMT and macular hole compared to placebo.

Belgian biopharmaceutical company ThromboGenics had granted Novartis the rights to commercialize Jetrea outside the US. In Oct 2012, Novartis’ Jetrea was approved for the treatment of patients with symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (:VMA) in the US, where it was launched earlier this year.

Novartis estimates that 250,000 to 300,000 patients in Europe suffer from visual distortion, decreased visual acuity and central blindness. This represents significant commercial potential for Jetrea, which should be able to capture a share of the European market considering the limited treatment options available for VMT. With the CHMP in favor of approving Jetrea, we expect EU approval for the candidate shortly.

Meanwhile, Novartis received a positive opinion from the CHMP for another of its candidates, llaris (canakinumab, ACZ885). Ilaris is under review in the EU for the treatment of patients with acute gouty arthritis and suffering from frequent attacks, and whose symptoms were not managed with current treatment options. A final decision on Ilaris should be out shortly.

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