Visa Supports the Dow as Tales of Security Breaches Grow

Visa Supports the Dow as Tales of Security Breaches Grow

With very little on the economic indicator slate today, the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage has fallen into the red by late morning. Investors might still be mulling the implications of last Friday's jobless data, and what the combination of a falling unemployment rate and declining workforce participation mean for the Federal Reserve's monetary easing program, as well as the wider U.S. economy.

Investors may get some insight on that subject later today, as Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is scheduled to give a speech at 12:40 p.m. in Atlanta on the outlook of the U.S. economy.

Security breaches may take toll on credit companies
Visa and American Express are still in the green in late morning, though both have lost a bit of their earlier shine, too. The cause could be some additional press over the weekend concerning security breaches during the holiday shopping season, which are now believed to be more widespread than originally reported.

Department store chain Neiman Marcus has acknowledged that it also experienced a credit security incident around the same time as Target, and Reuters reported that other stores are likely to make similar admissions in the near future. For its part, Visa issued security alerts to retailers in April and August of last year, outlining the very types of attacks that recently occurred -- and suggesting methods to repel those malware assaults.

Visa also enjoyed an upgrade earlier today from an analyst at Citigroup, who bolstered the credit card issuer from neutral to buy, expecting the company to begin closing the valuation gap with main rival MasterCard this year.

Both credit companies are polishing their images as well. The Financial Times noted that MasterCard is using "experiential learning" to better equip its executives for forays into emerging markets such as China, where the company is expanding its business. Visa has launched a new advertising campaign, "Everywhere you want to be," hoping to integrate the concept of payments with other services available from Visa, such as e-commerce and mobile payment options.

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Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup, MasterCard, and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published