American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP) shares reached a new 52-week high on Wednesday after the company announced a dividend. The company traded as high as $72.84 and last traded at $72.88, with a volume of 4,660,155 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $71.72.

The newly announced dividend which will be paid on Friday, February 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, January 6th will be paid a dividend of $0.32 per share. This represents a $1.28 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.78%. American Express’s dividend payout ratio is currently 22.70%.

AXP has been the subject of a number of research reports. Citigroup Inc. restated a “buy” rating on shares of American Express in a research note on Wednesday, August 10th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded American Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $75.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Monday, October 24th. TheStreet upgraded American Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 15th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $60.00 price objective on shares of American Express in a research report on Saturday, October 22nd. Finally, Barclays PLC set a $63.00 price objective on American Express and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 20th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have given a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $67.37.

The stock has a market capitalization of $66.70 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.95 and a beta of 1.19. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $66.12 and its 200-day moving average is $64.51.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, October 19th. The payment services company reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.28. American Express had a return on equity of 27.84% and a net margin of 16.67%. The company had revenue of $7.80 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $7.70 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.24 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts predict that American Express Co. will post $5.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other American Express news, insider Ashwini Gupta sold 146,030 shares of the firm’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 sale, the insider now directly owns 298,910 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $21,605,214.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Susan Sobbott sold 19,186 shares of the firm’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 sale, the insider now directly owns 56,870 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,006,491.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.78% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Coronation Fund Managers Ltd. acquired a new stake in American Express during the second quarter valued at about $27,786,000. Heritage Investors Management Corp raised its stake in shares of American Express by 1.2% in the second quarter. Heritage Investors Management Corp now owns 291,315 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $17,700,000 after buying an additional 3,320 shares during the period. Strs Ohio raised its stake in shares of American Express by 8.9% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 1,106,043 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $67,203,000 after buying an additional 90,367 shares during the period. Manitou Investment Management Ltd. raised its stake in shares of American Express by 21.1% in the second quarter. Manitou Investment Management Ltd. now owns 194,867 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $11,840,000 after buying an additional 34,000 shares during the period. Finally, First Pacific Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of American Express by 6.8% in the second quarter. First Pacific Advisors LLC now owns 6,042,364 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $367,134,000 after buying an additional 382,336 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 82.13% of the company’s stock.

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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).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:AXP

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