American Express Company (AXP) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

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.”

AXP has been the topic of several other research reports. Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on shares of American Express from $90.00 to $89.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, September 8th. Credit Suisse Group restated an “underperform” rating and set a $84.00 target price (up previously from $79.00) on shares of American Express in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Bank of America Corporation restated a “buy” rating and set a $102.00 target price on shares of American Express in a report on Monday, October 9th. BidaskClub lowered shares of American Express from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Finally, Buckingham Research started coverage on shares of American Express in a report on Monday, October 2nd. They set a “neutral” rating and a $92.00 target price on the stock. Three equities research 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. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $91.56.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 18th. The payment services company reported $1.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.47 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $8.44 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.31 billion. American Express had a net margin of 14.48% and a return on equity of 22.73%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 8.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.24 EPS.

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In related news, insider Ashwini Gupta sold 90,658 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.71, for a total transaction of $8,586,219.18. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 289,996 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $27,465,521.16. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Susan Sobbott sold 6,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred 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. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 140,845 shares of company stock valued at $13,197,233. Company insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. MCF Advisors LLC lifted its stake in American Express by 0.3% during the second quarter. MCF Advisors LLC now owns 1,286 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $108,000 after purchasing an additional 4 shares during the last quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA lifted its stake in American Express by 30.4% during the second quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA now owns 1,288 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $109,000 after purchasing an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Capital Analysts LLC acquired a new stake in American Express during the second quarter valued at approximately $115,000. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in American Express by 10.3% during the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,476 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $116,000 after purchasing an additional 138 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Westside Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in American Express by 36.7% during the first quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,528 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $119,000 after purchasing an additional 410 shares during the last quarter. 83.06% of the stock is 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).

Analyst Recommendations for American Express (NYSE:AXP)

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