American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors 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.”

Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on AXP. Vetr downgraded shares of American Express from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $64.38 price objective for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, November 15th. Stephens assumed coverage on shares of American Express in a research report on Friday, November 18th. They set an “underweight” rating and a $71.78 price objective for the company. TheStreet upgraded shares of American Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 15th. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and set 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 target on shares of American Express and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 20th. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $67.65.

Analyst Recommendations for American Express (NYSE:AXP)

American Express (NYSE:AXP) traded down 0.03% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $72.86. 1,881,632 shares of the company traded hands. The firm has a market capitalization of $66.69 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.95 and a beta of 1.19. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $66.37 and its 200 day moving average price is $64.57. American Express has a 52 week low of $50.27 and a 52 week high of $73.18.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 19th. The payment services company reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.28. The business earned $7.80 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $7.70 billion. American Express had a net margin of 16.67% and a return on equity of 27.84%. The company’s revenue was down 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.24 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that American Express will post $5.73 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, January 6th will be issued 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 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 transaction, the insider now directly owns 239,718 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,104,255.24. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Susan Sobbott sold 19,186 shares of the 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 transaction, the insider now owns 56,870 shares in the company, valued at $4,006,491.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.78% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in AXP. Bank of Stockton raised its position in shares of American Express by 3.0% in the second quarter. Bank of Stockton now owns 15,990 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $972,000 after buying an additional 460 shares during the last quarter. Trust Co raised its position in shares of American Express by 38.8% in the first quarter. Trust Co now owns 42,024 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $2,580,000 after buying an additional 11,742 shares during the last quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX raised its position in shares of American Express by 4.9% in the second quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX now owns 209,249 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $12,714,000 after buying an additional 9,736 shares during the last quarter. DNB Asset Management AS raised its position in shares of American Express by 2.8% in the second quarter. DNB Asset Management AS now owns 76,964 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $4,676,000 after buying an additional 2,100 shares during the last quarter. Finally, British Columbia Investment Management Corp raised its position in American Express by 3.0% in the second quarter. British Columbia Investment Management Corp now owns 462,041 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $28,074,000 after buying an additional 13,409 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 82.13% of the company’s stock.

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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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