American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.
According to Zacks, “American Express is set to grow over the long term from a secular shift toward digital payment methods. Its improved credit profile, impressive business initiatives, and investment in digital channels are expected to boost returns. The company’s cost-reduction initiative should drive efficiency and bottom-line growth. American Express, however, faces headwinds from high loan loss provisions, stiff competition, a strong U.S. dollar and loss of Costco as a client. The company’s third-quarter earnings 2016 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate but remained flat year over year. Nevertheless, continued favorable trends in credit and operating expense performance, offset partially by increases in marketing, promotion and rewards, allowed the company to raise its full year 2016 EPS guidance in the range of $5.90 to $6.00. Also, it affirmed 2017 EPS guidance of $5.60.”
Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on AXP. Vetr cut American Express from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $64.38 price objective for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, November 15th. Stephens assumed coverage on American Express in a research note on Friday, November 18th. They issued an “underweight” rating and a $71.78 price objective for the company. TheStreet upgraded American Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 15th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and set a $60.00 target price on shares of American Express in a research report on Saturday, October 22nd. Finally, Barclays PLC set a $63.00 target price on American Express and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 20th. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $67.65.
American Express (NYSE:AXP) traded down 0.03% during trading on Friday, hitting $72.86. 1,892,097 shares of the stock traded hands. American Express has a 12 month low of $50.27 and a 12 month high of $73.18. The company has a market cap of $66.69 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.95 and a beta of 1.19. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $66.37 and its 200 day moving average price is $64.57.
American Express (NYSE:AXP) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 19th. The payment services company reported $1.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.28. The business earned $7.80 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $7.70 billion. American Express had a return on equity of 27.84% and a net margin of 16.67%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.24 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that American Express will post $5.73 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, January 6th will be issued a $0.32 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, January 4th. This represents a $1.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.76%. American Express’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 22.70%.
In other news, insider Susan Sobbott sold 19,186 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.45, for a total value of $1,351,653.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 56,870 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,006,491.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Ashwini Gupta sold 146,030 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.28, for a total value of $10,555,048.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 298,910 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $21,605,214.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.78% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AXP. First Heartland Consultants Inc. boosted its position in American Express by 23.3% in the third quarter. First Heartland Consultants Inc. now owns 4,207 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $269,000 after buying an additional 794 shares during the period. Fayez Sarofim & Co. boosted its position in American Express by 4.2% in the third quarter. Fayez Sarofim & Co. now owns 2,631,873 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $168,474,000 after buying an additional 106,544 shares during the period. Sheets Smith Wealth Management bought a new position in American Express during the third quarter worth $376,000. Whalerock Point Partners LLC bought a new position in American Express during the third quarter worth $434,000. Finally, Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC bought a new position in American Express during the third quarter worth $12,248,000. 82.13% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
About American Express
American Express Company is a services company. The Company’s principal products and services are charge and credit payment card products, and travel-related services offered to consumers and businesses around the world. The Company’s segments include U.S. Consumer Services (USCS), International Consumer and Network Services (ICNS), Global Commercial Services (GCS) and Global Merchant Services (GMS).