In the 1990s, no stock contributed more to the earnings per share growth rate of the S&P 500 than Wal-Mart stock. It had been an elevator upward delivering 16% annual earnings per share growth throughout the decade, fresh on the heels of delivering 31.5% annual growth between 1972 and 1990. From 2000 through 2012, the party continued, as Wal-Mart grew earnings per share from $1.40 per share in 2000 to $5.02 in 2012. Although the best gains came to Wal-Mart’s early investors, participating in the growth of the business between 1972 and 2012 had been a blessing for any investor that chose to buy Wal-Mart outright instead of investing in something like an index fund.
Visa and Mastercard are distinctly different from other credit card companies like American Express and Discover Card. When you swipe something on your Visa or Mastercard, you are not actually using cards issued by Visa or Mastercard. The card itself is issued by a bank or financial institution somewhere, and the Visa and Mastercard brands represent networks that the issuing card joins. Anytime you make a purchase, the merchant has to pay a fee to the issuing bank by the end of the day, and the financial institutions have to share this fee with Visa and Mastercard.