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Stock Analyst Update

First Data, NCR Hit Fourth-Quarter Targets

Both companies have good growth prospects for 2000.

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Shares of First Data (FDC) ticked up nearly 6% Friday after the company issued a strong fourth-quarter earnings report. The Atlanta-based payment-processing firm's results came in slightly above analysts' consensus estimates with earnings of $0.55 per share thanks to a strong showing from First Data's Western Union international money-transfer business.

First Data's e-commerce payment-processing business is also growing quickly as online commerce explodes. While that business is still a small contributor to First Data's bottom line, it presents a compelling growth opportunity for First Data. The company said it would invest in the infrastructure it uses to process online payments--a smart move given increasing demand. First Data should be equipped to take on new clients quickly as Internet commerce takes off.

Laura Pavlenko Lutton does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.