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Card issuer Marqeta is a buy and can go up 54% from here, Morgan Stanley says

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Investors are being “overly punitive” on card-issuing company Marqeta , according to Morgan Stanley. Analyst James Faucette upgraded Marqeta to overweight from equal weight, saying in a Tuesday note that the fintech company is a “crucial infrastructure partner” in digital commerce. Its client list includes industry leaders such as JPMorgan, Uber and Square, the note read. “MQ’s high quality customer list leaves it exposed to some of the highest growth trends in digital commerce, with a solid business model establishing MQ’s competitive positioning,” Faucette wrote. “Given MQ’s competitive advantages and growth trajectory, we don’t think valuation appropriately reflects the runway ahead.” Morgan Stanley had a $15 price target for the company, which is 54% above where shares closed on Monday. Marqeta’s card issuing platform that allows clients to customize their payments helped the company grow rapidly in recent years, analysts said. They noted that the number of customers with third-party verification over $500 million doubled in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same period one year ago. Meanwhile, analysts believe the valuations are discounted given Marqeta’s “stable unit economics and attractive gross margin performance.” Shares of Marqeta, which went public last summer, are down 43% year to date. Morgan Stanley expects the company to post a loss of $67.2 million of operating cash flow in 2022, but report cash generation of $19.6 million in 2023, as well as adjusted EBITDA breakeven in 2024. “With this context, MQ’s highly defensive balance sheet – over $1.6bn in net cash – allows management to leverage a flexible approach to capital allocation with minimal cash burn risk. We’re constructive on MQ’s ability to reach their 20%+ adj. EBITDA margin targets over time,” Faucette wrote. Shares of Marqeta edged higher in Tuesday premarket trading. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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