Instinet Begins Coverage on American Express (AXP)

Instinet initiated coverage on shares of American Express (NYSE:AXP) in a research note published on Wednesday morning. The brokerage issued a buy rating and a $110.00 target price on the payment services company’s stock.

AXP has been the topic of several other research reports. Bank of America raised their price objective on shares of American Express from $102.00 to $106.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Barclays set a $93.00 price objective on shares of American Express and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed an in-line rating and set a $93.00 price objective (up previously from $85.00) on shares of American Express in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Buckingham Research assumed coverage on shares of American Express in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. They set a neutral rating and a $92.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of American Express from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $111.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Wednesday. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $96.68.

Shares of American Express (NYSE:AXP) traded up $0.23 on Wednesday, reaching $101.08. 2,458,538 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,180,000. The company has a market capitalization of $87,740.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.51, a PEG ratio of 1.49 and a beta of 1.22. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.31, a quick ratio of 1.90 and a current ratio of 1.90. American Express has a 52-week low of $75.06 and a 52-week high of $101.65.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 18th. The payment services company reported $1.50 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.47 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $8.44 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.31 billion. American Express had a net margin of 14.48% and a return on equity of 22.73%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.24 earnings per share. research analysts expect that American Express will post 5.86 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 9th. Stockholders of record on Friday, January 5th will be given a $0.35 dividend. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.39%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, January 4th. American Express’s dividend payout ratio is 27.03%.

In other news, CEO Kenneth I. Chenault sold 96,440 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.30, for a total value of $9,383,612.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 1,178,333 shares in the company, valued at $114,651,800.90. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider James Peter Bush sold 12,789 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.45, for a total transaction of $1,271,866.05. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 92,504 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,199,522.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 442,869 shares of company stock worth $42,823,869. Insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in AXP. Lazard Asset Management LLC grew its stake in shares of American Express by 117.3% in the first quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 597,830 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $47,293,000 after acquiring an additional 322,742 shares during the last quarter. First Heartland Consultants Inc. boosted its stake in American Express by 32.4% during the first quarter. First Heartland Consultants Inc. now owns 7,564 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $598,000 after buying an additional 1,850 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in American Express by 2,686.0% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 44,177,867 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $3,494,913,000 after buying an additional 42,592,136 shares in the last quarter. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. acquired a new stake in American Express during the first quarter worth $23,057,000. Finally, Amalgamated Bank boosted its stake in American Express by 1.9% during the first quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 53,485 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $4,231,000 after buying an additional 994 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 83.35% 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).

Analyst Recommendations for American Express (NYSE:AXP)

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