American Express Company (AXP) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday. They currently have $107.00 price objective on the payment services company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Express have outperformed the industry year to date. Its third-quarter earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year. Better-than-expected results were mainly backed by an increase in net interest income, higher Card spending at a lower tax rate and the effect of share buyback. The company continues to witness strong loan growth and credit metrics, plus lower operating costs. A solid market position, strength in card business and significant opportunities from the secular shift toward electronic payments are growth drivers. Strategic initiatives focusing on the platinum card portfolio and the OptBlue program will drive business volume. Cost reduction and return of significant capital to shareholders through dividend and share buyback are also positives. However, an increase in provision for losses, high rewards expense and cost of card member services are the other headwinds.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on AXP. Stephens set a $89.00 price objective on American Express and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. Buckingham Research assumed coverage on American Express in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. They issued a neutral rating and a $92.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated an in-line rating and issued a $93.00 price objective (up from $85.00) on shares of American Express in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $95.00 price objective on American Express and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, August 19th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded American Express from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 8th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. American Express presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $91.56.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) traded up $0.45 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $96.43. The stock had a trading volume of 2,089,492 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,444,570. The company has a quick ratio of 1.90, a current ratio of 1.90 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.31. The company has a market capitalization of $83,700.85, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.47, a PEG ratio of 1.61 and a beta of 1.22. American Express has a twelve month low of $65.03 and a twelve month high of $96.57.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 18th. The payment services company reported $1.50 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.47 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $8.44 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.31 billion. American Express had a return on equity of 22.73% and a net margin of 14.48%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.24 earnings per share. analysts predict that American Express will post 5.85 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 10th. Investors of record on Friday, October 6th will be given a $0.35 dividend. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.45%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 5th. This is a boost from American Express’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. American Express’s payout ratio is 26.97%.

In other American Express news, insider James Peter Bush sold 10,230 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $90.55, for a total transaction of $926,326.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Linda Zukauckas sold 3,196 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, October 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $95.42, for a total transaction of $304,962.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 140,845 shares of company stock valued at $13,197,233 in the last 90 days. 0.67% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of American Express by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 50,233,957 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $4,231,710,000 after acquiring an additional 731,428 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of American Express by 1.1% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 44,685,897 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $3,764,339,000 after acquiring an additional 508,030 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of American Express by 1.8% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 40,399,620 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $3,196,011,000 after acquiring an additional 731,315 shares during the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its position in shares of American Express by 21.7% during the 1st quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 17,198,787 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $1,360,596,000 after acquiring an additional 3,071,573 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Eagle Investment Management LLC raised its position in shares of American Express by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 16,342,822 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $1,376,719,000 after acquiring an additional 103,546 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 83.06% of the company’s stock.

About American Express

American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a global services company. The Company’s principal products and services are charge and credit card products, and travel-related services, which are offered to consumers and businesses around the world. Its segments include the U.S. Consumer Services (USCS), International Consumer and Network Services (ICNS), Global Commercial Services (GCS) and Global Merchant Services (GMS).

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