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  • Writer's pictureJeff Matthews

Real-Time Data on the World, Courtesy of Visa

One of the great frustrations of most quarterly earnings calls is that they are, by definition, backward-looking.

Specifically, companies generally have 40 days to file their quarterly 10-Q with the SEC, so the earnings being reported are anywhere from two weeks to more than a month old by the time they’re released.

Furthermore, the numbers that are being reported cover a period that started 90 days before the quarter’s end, so the information a company is reporting can be quite stale by the time it’s out.

Also, the advent of Reg. FD, which requires companies to disclose material information to the public—not just a few of Wall Street’s Finest, as used to be the case—caused many companies to clam up on current trends when pressed on earnings conference calls.

So earnings calls these nervous days mostly resemble a game a charades, in which management gets asked the same question in fifteen or twenty different ways.

That question, of course, is “How do things look today?”

Fortunately, we have companies like UPS and Visa, whose business is such that they can’t help but provide the kind of day-by-day insight into the global economy that Wall Street’s Finest beg for.

And thanks to the indispensible StreetEvents, we highlight a few choice nuggets from Joe Saunders, Chairman and CEO of Visa Inc., on last night’s earnings call:

“Deconstructing this further credit volume growth averaged in the low single digits in the quarter trending lower through September. In sharp contrast to credit, debit volume growth was running at low to mid double digits throughout the quarter pointing out not only the resiliency of this product but the fact that the secular shift to plastic continues.

“Since the beginning of October we have experienced additional moderation in volume growth in the US credit payment volume which was in the 1% to 2% range for most of the quarter, has turned negative through the first three weeks of October. In contrast, debit payment volume has continued to grow at low double digits.

“While international payment volume growth rates remain stable through September, cross border volumes are off the high teens level seen in the June quarter and were running in the high single digits at the end of September.”

So, the world is slowing—the US more than elsewhere. But we already knew that.

Now if we could only find a company that could provide this stuff a year in advance

Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up

© 2008 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice. It should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. Nor are these comments meant to be a solicitation of business in any way: such inquiries will not be responded to. This content is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.

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