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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.

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