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American Express (AXP - Free Analyst Report), a leading credit card issuer, has posted share net of $0.84 in the second quarter of 2010, well above both our $0.73 estimate and the year-earlier tally of $0.09.

That strong showing reflected improved economic conditions, which boosted spending levels across all the company's segments, including corporate cards and those issued by bank partners. Indeed, Amex reported a double-digit increase in consumer credit-card spending levels in the term, compared with the same period a year ago. What's more, there was a substantial drop in the total provision for losses, as credit quality improved.

The company did note that, although card spending increased, customers seem to be borrowing less, while more are making greater strides to pay off monthly balances. This has likely taken somewhat of a toll on overall interest revenue, of late.

Still, since we expect favorable business trends to continue during the second half of the year, we have raised our 2010 and 2011 share-earnings targets.

About The Company: Established in 1850, American Express Company has grown to become a leading global payments, network, and travel firm. It operates through multiple business segments, including the Global Consumer Group and Global Business-to-Business Group. The company sold its AMEX Life business in October of 1995 and its American Express Bank in February of 2008. In mid-1994, it spun off Lehman Brothers to shareholders, and ten years later, did the same with American Express Financial Advisors.