American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was the recipient of unusually large options trading activity on Wednesday. Traders acquired 23,413 call options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 554% compared to the average volume of 3,578 call options.

In other American Express news, insider Douglas E. Buckminster sold 46,950 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, April 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.78, for a total transaction of $3,792,621.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 103,676 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,374,947.28. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Paul D. Fabara sold 5,981 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.88, for a total transaction of $513,648.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 60,831 shares of company stock worth $4,921,191. Insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AXP. SeaBridge Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in American Express during the first quarter worth $100,000. MCF Advisors LLC raised its stake in American Express by 0.5% in the first quarter. MCF Advisors LLC now owns 1,282 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 6 shares in the last quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA raised its stake in American Express by 30.4% in the second quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA now owns 1,288 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. SpiderRock Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in American Express during the first quarter worth $112,000. Finally, SRS Capital Advisors Inc. raised its stake in American Express by 10.3% in the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,476 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 138 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 82.60% of the company’s stock.

American Express (AXP) opened at 85.59 on Friday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $82.61 and its 200 day moving average is $79.25. The firm has a market cap of $76.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.45 and a beta of 1.18. American Express has a one year low of $59.50 and a one year high of $86.28.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The payment services company reported $1.47 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.44 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $8.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.20 billion. American Express had a net margin of 14.11% and a return on equity of 21.99%. American Express’s revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business earned $2.10 EPS. On average, analysts predict that American Express will post $5.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.32 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, July 5th. This represents a $1.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.50%. American Express’s dividend payout ratio is currently 26.18%.

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

A number of analysts have weighed in on the stock. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 target price on shares of American Express in a research note on Thursday. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of American Express in a research note on Wednesday. William Blair reaffirmed an “outperform” rating on shares of American Express in a research note on Tuesday. BidaskClub upgraded shares of American Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 30th. Finally, Instinet reiterated an “underperform” rating and set a $80.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $83.53.

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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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