MasterCard Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit jumped 23% as the company reported higher processed transactions and improved spending.

But shares recently dropped 6.8% to $230.80 in premarket trading, as earnings results just missed analysts' expectations.

MasterCard and its chief rival Visa Inc. are insulated from credit woes arising from increasing delinquencies because they don't lend to consumers. Instead, they make money from the fees they charge banks, and have been instead hurt by lower consumer spending.

On Thursday, MasterCard said it saw encouraging signs in key aspects of its business, as cross-border volumes increased and processed transactions continued to grow.

MasterCard reported a profit of $294 million, or $2.24 a share, up from $239.4 million, or $1.83 a share, a year earlier. The latest results included 19 cents in severance charges.

Revenue improved 6% to $1.3 billion, with currency fluctuations contributing 3.8 percentage points of the increase.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $2.46, excluding items, on revenue of $1.3 billion.

Worldwide gross dollar volume, or spending on MasterCard-branded cards, jumped 5.3% in local-currency terms. The number of MasterCard-branded cards worldwide fell 1.3% although processed transactions grew 6.7%.

On Wednesday, Visa reported its fiscal first-quarter profit grew 33% on higher payments volume, as the payment processor's results topped analysts' expectations.

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