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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday, November 1st. The firm currently has $107.00 target price 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 research analysts have also recently issued reports on AXP. Credit Suisse Group reissued an underperform rating and issued a $80.00 price objective on shares of American Express in a research note on Wednesday, July 5th. William Blair reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of American Express in a research note on Tuesday, July 18th. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $83.00 target price on shares of American Express in a research note on Thursday, July 20th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $94.00 target price (up previously from $87.00) on shares of American Express in a research note on Saturday, July 22nd. Finally, Guggenheim reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $95.00 target price (up previously from $90.00) on shares of American Express in a research note on Saturday, July 22nd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $91.56.

American Express (NYSE AXP) traded up $0.26 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $93.95. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 3,456,574 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,613,104. The company has a market cap of $81,470.00, a PE ratio of 17.95, a PEG ratio of 1.56 and a beta of 1.22. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.31, a quick ratio of 1.90 and a current ratio of 1.90. American Express has a 52-week low of $70.87 and a 52-week high of $96.90.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 18th. The payment services company reported $1.50 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.47 by $0.03. American Express had a net margin of 14.48% and a return on equity of 22.73%. The company had revenue of $8.44 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $8.31 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.24 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts expect that American Express will post 5.86 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, November 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 6th were given a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.49%. This is a boost from American Express’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. American Express’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 27.03%.

In related news, EVP Linda Zukauckas sold 3,196 shares of the 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 transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Susan Sobbott sold 6,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.39, for a total transaction of $506,340.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 146,345 shares of company stock worth $13,716,103. 0.67% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio grew its holdings in American Express by 0.8% in the 3rd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 515,896 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $46,668,000 after acquiring an additional 4,285 shares during the last quarter. Independent Advisor Alliance bought a new stake in shares of American Express during the 3rd quarter valued at about $563,000. Sterling Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of American Express by 1.7% during the 3rd quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 76,538 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $6,924,000 after purchasing an additional 1,270 shares in the last quarter. Colony Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of American Express by 1,404.0% during the 3rd quarter. Colony Group LLC now owns 48,655 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $4,401,000 after purchasing an additional 45,420 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of American Express by 1.5% during the 3rd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,917,742 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $173,479,000 after purchasing an additional 28,003 shares in the last quarter. 83.83% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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