American Express Sees Unusually High Options Volume (AXP)

American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was the target of unusually large options trading on Wednesday. Traders purchased 21,700 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 544% compared to the average daily volume of 3,370 put options.

A number of equities research analysts have recently commented on AXP shares. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $84.00 target price on shares of American Express in a research note on Thursday, June 1st. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “sell” rating on shares of American Express in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. BidaskClub cut American Express from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. Instinet raised American Express from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $63.00 to $78.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 27th. Finally, Nomura raised American Express from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $63.00 to $78.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 27th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $84.77.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) traded up 0.7000% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $87.3975. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,391,764 shares. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $84.99 and a 200 day moving average of $80.40. American Express has a one year low of $59.50 and a one year high of $87.78. The firm has a market capitalization of $77.26 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.9240 and a beta of 1.18.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The payment services company reported $1.47 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.44 by $0.03. American Express had a return on equity of 21.90% and a net margin of 14.11%. The business had revenue of $8.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.20 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $2.10 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that American Express will post $5.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

American Express announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $4.40 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the payment services company to reacquire up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other American Express news, Vice Chairman Stephen J. Squeri sold 94,792 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.41, for a total value of $8,096,184.72. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 261,665 shares in the company, valued at $22,348,807.65. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Anre D. Williams sold 53,111 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.24, for a total value of $4,527,181.64. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 79,614 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,786,297.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 948,287 shares of company stock valued at $80,321,961. 0.67% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Amussen Hunsaker & Associates LLC bought a new stake in American Express during the second quarter valued at approximately $5,074,000. Colony Group LLC bought a new stake in American Express during the second quarter valued at approximately $273,000. National Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in American Express by 8.2% in the second quarter. National Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,435 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $459,000 after buying an additional 412 shares in the last quarter. Seminole Management Co. Inc. boosted its stake in American Express by 28.7% in the second quarter. Seminole Management Co. Inc. now owns 700,000 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $58,968,000 after buying an additional 156,216 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BB&T Investment Services Inc. bought a new stake in American Express during the second quarter valued at approximately $306,000. 83.86% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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American Express Company Profile

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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