IBD’s Top 10 – Wednesday

Transportation Sec’y Ray LaHood advised Toyota (NYSE:TM – News) owners of recalled vehicles to stop driving them. He quickly backtracked, but Toyota shares still tumbled 6% — while rival Honda (NYSE:HMC – News) rose 6%. The world’s No. 1 automaker has recalled about 5 mil vehicles worldwide. Toyota is paying U.S. dealers up to $75,000 to take extra measures to take care of customers.

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2 The credit card and payment processing company’s Q1 EPS rose 31% to $1.02, beating views by 11 cents. Revenue rose 13% to $1.96 bil, also above analyst estimates. Rising debit card processing volume helped. Total transactions rose 12%. Visa (NYSE:V – News) expects full-year net revenue to climb 11%-15% and EPS growth above 20%. Shares rose 2% in late trading.

3 The network gear giant said after hours that Q2 EPS rose 25% to 40 cents ex items, a nickel over views. Sales grew 8% to $9.8 bil, above views. [Read the full article]

Visa easily beat profit estimates late Wednesday and reaffirmed its outlook for the next two years as consumers worldwide used debit cards instead of cash.

The largest credit-card network said profit in its first quarter ending Dec. 31 climbed 31% to $1.02 a share, beating views by 11 cents. Revenue rose 13% to $1.96 bil, just above forecasts.

“This was clearly a good report driven by higher debit card usage, signaling that ailing consumers, while not fully healed, are feeling a little better,” said Robert Dodd, an analyst at Morgan Keegan.

Visa (NYSE:V – News) shares rose nearly 3% in after-hours trading after dipping slightly ahead of the report. Chief rival MasterCard (NYSE:MA – News), which reports Thursday, edged up late, recouping some of its regular-session loss of 2%.

Processed transactions rose 12% to 10.9 billion from a year ago as the number of Visa-branded cards increased 5% to 1.8 billion. Total payments volume grew 9% to $769 billion.

U.S. [Read the full article]

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is counting on entrepreneurs to bring Michigan’s struggling economy back from the brink. So much so that she plans to set aside $200,000 to teach budding entrepreneurs and help provide $43 million for small business loans.

The Democrat governor detailed those and other plans during her hour-long State of the State speech Wednesday.

Granholm said she created an alliance with the Michigan Credit Union League that will make $43 million available for loans to 2,100 small businesses. And she plans to ask the federal government to help fund Project Phoenix to find new uses for abandoned auto factories.

She also said the $200,000 could help teach 1,000 people what they need to know to start a business. [Read the full article]

–Announced formation of the Michigan Small Business Financing Alliance in partnership with Michigan Credit Union League. The goal is to make available a pool of more than $40 million to be lent to more than 2,100 new companies. Average loan amount: $20,000.

–Called for expanding Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s entrepreneurship training, 10-week intensive courses around the state designed to spur small business development.

–Announced creation of Project Phoenix, which will inventory large industrial tracts and factories that have closed and find ways to reuse them. State would make up to $100,000 available per redevelopment project for planning and study purposes.

–Asked for new income tax credit for investors who make venture capital available to the Michigan businesses that need it to expand and create new jobs. [Read the full article]

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