Zacks Investment Research Upgrades American Express Company (AXP) to “Buy”
American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a $107.00 target price on the payment services company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 12.02% from the company’s current price.
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.”
Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on AXP. Morgan Stanley decreased their target price on American Express from $90.00 to $89.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, September 8th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $85.00 target price on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed an “underperform” rating and set a $84.00 target price (up from $79.00) on shares of American Express in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $100.00 target price (up from $99.00) on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Finally, Guggenheim reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 target price (up from $90.00) on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $91.56.
American Express (NYSE:AXP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 18th. The payment services company reported $1.50 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.47 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $8.44 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $8.31 billion. American Express had a return on equity of 22.73% and a net margin of 14.48%. The firm’s revenue was up 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.24 EPS.
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In other news, EVP Linda Zukauckas sold 3,196 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $95.42, for a total transaction of $304,962.32. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Ashwini Gupta sold 90,658 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.71, for a total value of $8,586,219.18. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 289,996 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,465,521.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 140,845 shares of company stock worth $13,197,233. 0.67% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. MCF Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of American Express by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. MCF Advisors LLC now owns 1,286 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $108,000 after acquiring an additional 4 shares during the last quarter. Appleton Partners Inc. MA increased its holdings in shares of American Express by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Appleton Partners Inc. MA now owns 2,658 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $224,000 after acquiring an additional 8 shares during the last quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. increased its holdings in shares of American Express by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,536 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $129,000 after acquiring an additional 8 shares during the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of American Express by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 2,652 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $223,000 after acquiring an additional 11 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bath Savings Trust Co increased its holdings in shares of American Express by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Bath Savings Trust Co now owns 4,388 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $369,000 after acquiring an additional 14 shares during the last quarter. 83.06% 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).
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