Todays Report: Today: American Express Co. (AXP) gets Hold status at The Zacks Investment Research

Today: American Express Co. (AXP) gets Hold status at The Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published 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.”

AXP has been the topic of several other research reports. Vetr upgraded American Express from a strong sell rating to a sell rating and set a $57.00 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday, October 18th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a neutral rating on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, October 22nd. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated a sell rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Friday, September 16th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a market perform rating and set a $74.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a hold rating and set a $71.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Wednesday, September 7th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $67.65.

Shares of American Express (NYSE:AXP) opened at 72.86 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $66.69 billion, a PE ratio of 12.95 and a beta of 1.19. American Express has a one year low of $50.27 and a one year high of $73.18. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $66.74 and its 200-day moving average is $64.64.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 19th. The payment services company reported $1.24 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.96 by $0.28. American Express had a return on equity of 27.84% and a net margin of 16.67%. The firm had revenue of $7.80 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $7.70 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.24 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that American Express will post $5.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, January 6th will be given a dividend of $0.32 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, January 4th. This represents a $1.28 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.76%. American Express’s payout ratio is currently 22.70%.

In other news, insider Susan Sobbott sold 19,186 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.45, for a total transaction of $1,351,653.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 56,870 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,006,491.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Ashwini Gupta sold 146,030 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated 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 transaction, the insider now owns 298,910 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $21,605,214.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.78% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Mycio Wealth Partners LLC boosted its position in American Express by 4.1% in the second quarter. Mycio Wealth Partners LLC now owns 1,638 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 65 shares during the period. Blume Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in American Express by 15.5% in the second quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,733 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 233 shares during the period. Motco boosted its position in American Express by 31.6% in the third quarter. Motco now owns 1,815 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 436 shares during the period. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its position in American Express by 10.4% in the third quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,140 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 201 shares during the period. Finally, Alpha Windward LLC boosted its position in American Express by 1.3% in the third quarter. Alpha Windward LLC now owns 2,392 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $153,000 after buying an additional 31 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 80.82% of the company’s stock.

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).

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