American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Stock investors bought 9,027 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 153% compared to the average volume of 3,574 put options.

American Express (NYSE AXP) opened at 84.25 on Friday. American Express has a 12-month low of $59.50 and a 12-month high of $87.78. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $85.41 and a 200 day moving average price of $81.26. The firm has a market cap of $74.48 billion, a PE ratio of 17.28 and a beta of 1.18.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The payment services company reported $1.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping 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 company had revenue of $8.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.20 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $2.10 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts forecast that American Express will post $5.74 EPS for the current year.

American Express announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase program on Wednesday, June 28th that permits the company to buyback $4.40 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the payment services company to buy up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of brokerages have commented on AXP. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $95.00 target price on American Express and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, August 19th. BidaskClub downgraded American Express from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 1st. Morgan Stanley lowered their target price on American Express from $90.00 to $89.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $94.00 target price (up previously from $87.00) on shares of American Express in a research note on Saturday, July 22nd. Finally, Instinet restated an “underperform” rating and issued a $80.00 target price on shares of American Express in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company. American Express presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $86.37.

In other American Express news, insider Paul D. Fabara sold 5,981 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.88, for a total value of $513,648.28. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Kenneth I. Chenault sold 789,503 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.62, for a total value of $66,807,743.86. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 889,836 shares in the company, valued at approximately $75,297,922.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 943,387 shares of company stock worth $79,944,759 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. MCF Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of American Express by 0.5% in the first quarter. MCF Advisors LLC now owns 1,282 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 6 shares in the last quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA raised its position in shares of 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 valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. SpiderRock Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of American Express in the first quarter valued at approximately $112,000. Capital Analysts LLC acquired a new stake in shares of American Express in the second quarter valued at approximately $115,000. Finally, SRS Capital Advisors Inc. raised its position in shares of 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 valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 138 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 82.80% of the company’s stock.

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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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