Visa Inc (V) Partners Up, Jumps On the Smartwatch Bandwagon

Visa Inc (V) is pairing up with Swiss watchmaker Swatch to create a new mobile pay system with wearable tech

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Nov 30, 2015 at 2:38 PM

When it comes to wearable tech, the biggest name in the market has to be Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Apple Watch allows users to enjoy most of the same functions available on the iPhone through its much smaller and more portable wrist display. But with retail prices ranging from $349 to more than $15,000 -- and AAPL declining to take part in the tradition of major Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts -- this smartwatch may be way more than the average consumer is looking for. For those who are interested in just a few basic functions in their wearable gadgets, there are several other options.

Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) is arguably the leader in fitness-focused gear, offering several models of wearables that track movement, calories burned, heart rate, and even sleep patterns. But if fitness isn't your thing, convenience might be. Instead of trying to figure out whether you need to swipe or dip your new EMV chip card every time you hit the store checkout, you could be using an app -- like AAPL's Apple Pay -- to quickly process payments through your mobile device.

And that is where Visa Inc (NYSE:V) enters the picture. The world's biggest payments network has partnered up with the world's biggest watch maker -- Switzerland-based Swatch Group AG -- to create a wristwatch that will allow the wearer to pay with a linked Visa account. The Swatch Bellamy watch is already available in China and should be coming to the U.S. next year.

V has been trending higher on the charts over the past year, adding nearly 22% so far in 2015, and last seen trading at $79.64, off 0.3% from Friday's close. Analysts are quite bullish on the stock, with 18 out of 21 firms following Visa giving it a "buy" rating or better, and not a single "sell" on the books. The 12-month consensus price target on the security sits at $85.60 -- a 5.7% premium to Visa's all-time high of $81.01, seen just over a week ago. And recent news of a major purchase didn't hurt the shares, either.

One group that appears less enthusiastic is options traders. V has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.17, which ranks higher than 86% of readings from the past year -- indicating a strong preference for puts among near-term traders. If Visa Inc (NYSE:V) wins over some of these skeptics with its persistently positive price action, a capitulation by these option bears could translate into additional upside.


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