American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued 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 and strategic capital deployment will also drive growth. American Express, however, faces headwinds from high loan loss provisions, stiff competition, a strong U.S. dollar, loss of Costco as a client, higher expenses on growth initiatives and regulatory compliance. 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. During the most recently reported third quarter results, the company posted earnings of $1.24 per share beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.96 per share but remained flat year over year.”

AXP has been the topic of several other reports. Vetr raised American Express from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $57.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, October 18th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of American Express in a research report on Saturday, October 22nd. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $62.00 price target on shares of American Express in a research report on Friday, September 16th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of American Express in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $71.00 price target on shares of American Express in a research report on Wednesday, September 7th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. American Express presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $67.18.

Analyst Recommendations for American Express (NYSE:AXP)

American Express (NYSE:AXP) opened at 72.42 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $66.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.87 and a beta of 1.19. American Express has a one year low of $50.27 and a one year high of $73.35. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $64.58 and its 200 day moving average price is $64.20.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 19th. The payment services company reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.28. The business had revenue of $7.80 billion for 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 revenue was down 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.24 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that American Express will post $5.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 10th. Investors of record on Friday, October 7th were issued a $0.32 dividend. This is an increase from American Express’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.29. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, October 5th. This represents a $1.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.77%. American Express’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 22.70%.

In related news, insider Susan Sobbott sold 19,186 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 11th. The shares were 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 owns 56,870 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,006,491.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Ashwini Gupta sold 140,808 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.18, for a total transaction of $9,459,481.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 239,718 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $16,104,255.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.78% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Mycio Wealth Partners LLC increased its position in shares of 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 worth $100,000 after buying an additional 65 shares during the last quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of 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 worth $105,000 after buying an additional 233 shares during the last quarter. Capital Analysts LLC increased its position in shares of American Express by 84.0% in the second quarter. Capital Analysts LLC now owns 2,631 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 1,201 shares during the last quarter. Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. acquired a new position in shares of American Express during the second quarter worth approximately $112,000. Finally, Motco increased its position in shares of American Express by 31.6% in the third quarter. Motco now owns 1,815 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 436 shares during the last quarter. 82.99% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

American Express Company Profile

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).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:AXP

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