American Express Company (NYSE:AXP)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by equities researchers at Barclays PLC in a report released on Thursday. They currently have a $83.00 price target on the payment services company’s stock. Barclays PLC’s target price points to a potential downside of 3.41% from the company’s previous close.

Several other research firms have also recently commented on AXP. Credit Suisse Group restated a “sell” rating on shares of American Express in a report on Wednesday. William Blair restated an “outperform” rating on shares of American Express in a report on Tuesday. Instinet restated an “underperform” rating and issued a $80.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Thursday, June 29th. BidaskClub upgraded American Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 30th. Finally, Stephens upgraded American Express from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $70.00 to $82.00 in a report on Tuesday, June 20th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $83.53.

Shares of American Express (NYSE AXP) traded down 0.70% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $85.33. 4,502,075 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $76.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.40 and a beta of 1.18. American Express has a 52-week low of $59.50 and a 52-week high of $85.98. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $82.37 and a 200-day moving average price of $79.20. American Express also was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Investors acquired 21,700 put options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 544% compared to the typical volume of 3,370 put options.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The payment services company reported $1.47 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.44 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $8.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.20 billion. American Express had a return on equity of 25.24% and a net margin of 16.24%. The firm’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $2.10 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that American Express will post $5.70 EPS for the current year.

American Express announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, June 28th that permits the company to buyback $4.40 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the payment services company to purchase up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, EVP Marc D. Gordon sold 4,900 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.98, for a total transaction of $377,202.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Douglas E. Buckminster sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, April 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.24, for a total value of $237,720.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 55,486 shares in the company, valued at $4,396,710.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 54,850 shares of company stock worth $4,407,543. Corporate insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of American Express by 1.5% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 49,502,529 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $3,916,145,000 after buying an additional 722,235 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of American Express by 2,686.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 44,177,867 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $3,494,913,000 after buying an additional 42,592,136 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of American Express by 1.8% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 40,399,620 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $3,196,011,000 after buying an additional 731,315 shares during the last quarter. Dodge & Cox bought a new position in shares of American Express during the fourth quarter worth approximately $2,128,667,000. Finally, Wellington Management Group LLP increased its position in shares of American Express by 21.7% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 17,198,787 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $1,360,596,000 after buying an additional 3,071,573 shares during the last quarter. 82.60% 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).

Analyst Recommendations for American Express (NYSE:AXP)

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