Bank technology stocks traded in narrow ranges last week, marking time along with the rest of the market in anticipation of the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates tomorrow.
In spite of the Republicans' sweeping victory in Congressional elections last week, Wall Street seemed more obsessed with how high the Fed would push interest rates.
Some analysts predict that with the GOP now in control of both the Senate and House of Representatives, the central bank will be emboldened enough to raise interests rate a full point.
As result, shares of financial-systems firms were mixed, but a handful of payment-processing and outsourcing firms rose.
Brokerage firm Piper Jaffray Inc. held a conference in New York last week, highlighting transaction-processing and outsourcing companies. Senior executives from Bisys Group Inc., Deluxe Corp., Fiserv Inc., National Data Corp., SPS Transaction Services Inc., and Verifone Inc. gave presentations about their firms' prospects.
Piper Jaffray analyst Patrick Burton published a report that coincided with the conference predicting long-term growth opportunities for outsourcing and transaction-processing companies.
As part of the report, Mr. Burton issued "strong buy" recommendations for Verifone and First Financial Management Corp., and a "buy" opinion for SPS Transaction.
Mr. Burton said that despite the fact that many of these firm's stocks were trading at historically high levels, "We believe the future growth here combined with the economies of scale within the marketplace will equate to increasing margins and earnings for these companies."
First Financial's stock closed at $57.75 a share Friday, up $1.625 for the week.
Common stock of SPS Transaction ended trading Friday at $58.875 a share, up $2.25 for the week. Verifone's stock closed at $21.50 Friday, down 50 cents for the week.
In other news, software and systems integration firm Broadway and Seymour Inc. announced that one its founders, vice chairman William Seymour, would be leaving full-time employment by the end of this year.
Officials at the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm said Mr. Seymour was stepping down to pursue real-estate development and investment interests, and that he would remain on the company's board of directors.
Broadway and Seymour's stock closed at $19.25 a share Friday, up 75 cents for the week.