American Express (NYSE: AXP) stock rises after strong earnings

Shares of American Express (NYSE: AXP) rose ahead of the market open on Friday after announcing better-than-expected earnings. The stock had previously closed at $150.18, but opened at $159.75. American Express shares were last traded at $157.70, with a volume of 55,450 shares.

The payment services company reported $2.57 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ estimates of $2.38 by $0.19. American Express has a return on equity of 33.35% and a net margin of 17.49%. The company generated $13.40 billion in revenue for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $12.54 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company reported earnings of $2.80 per share. Business quarterly revenue rose 30.8% compared to the same quarter last year.

American Express announces dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 10th. Investors of record on Friday, July 1st, will be awarded a dividend of $0.52 per share. The date of exclusion from these earnings is Thursday, June 30. This represents a dividend of $2.08 year-over-year and a return of 1.32%. American Express’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 20.84%.

Analysts set new price targets

Several research companies have their weight in the AXP program. Robert W. Bird upgraded American Express from a “neutral” rating to a “superior” rating and set a $175.00 target price per share in a report released on Friday, June 17th. Morgan Stanley cut American Express from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and lowered the company’s target price from $223.00 to $143.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 12. Wells Fargo & Company lowered its price target on American Express from $215.00 to $190.00 and defined the company’s “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 13th. Oppenheimer set $184.00 as a price target for shares of American Express in a report on Tuesday. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded American Express from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $200.00 price target for the company. In a report on Monday, April 11th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. According to MarketBeat data, the stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $182.47.

Inside activity

In related news, CEO Stephen J. Squire sold 48,160 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 28th. The shares sold for an average price of $178.38, with a total value of $8,590.780.80. Following completion of the sale, the CEO now owns 31,285 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,580,618.30. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. In other news, director Theodore Leonsis sold 4,005 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that took place on Friday, June 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $166.63, with a total value of $667353.15. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Stephen J. Squire sold 48,160 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that took place on Thursday, April 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $178.38, for a total transaction of $8,590.780.80. Following the completion of the sale, the CEO now directly owns 31,285 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,580,618.30. The disclosure of this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

American Express Corporate Commerce

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added or reduced their stakes in the stock. SBK Financial Inc. A new stake in shares of American Express during the fourth quarter valued at $25,000. Tyler Stone Wealth Management acquired a new position in American Express in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Blue Bell Private Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in shares of American Express by 873.3% during the first quarter. Blue Bell Private Wealth Management LLC now owns 146 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $27,000 after acquiring an additional 131 shares during the last quarter. Perkins Coie Trust Co. acquired a new position in shares of American Express during the first quarter valued at approximately $28,000. Finally, Rise Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of American Express by 823.5% during the first quarter. Rise Advisors LLC now owns 157 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $29,000 after acquiring an additional 140 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.49% of the company’s stock.

American Express stock is up 4.7%.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.71, a quick ratio of 1.63 and a trading ratio of 1.63. The company has a market capitalization of $118.45 billion, a PE ratio of 15.05, a PEG ratio of 1.15 and a beta of 1.15. The 50-day moving average for the stock is $150.82 and the 200-day moving average is at $169.77.

About American Express

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American Express, along with its subsidiaries, provides debit and credit card products and travel-related services throughout the world. The company operates through three segments: Global Consumer Services Group, Global Merchant and Network Services. Its products and services include payment and financing products; network services; Accounts payable expense management products and services; Travel and lifestyle services.

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