Buckingham Research Upgrades American Express (AXP) to “Buy”

Buckingham Research upgraded shares of American Express (NYSE:AXP) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, Marketbeat.com reports. The firm currently has $112.00 price target on the payment services company’s stock, up from their prior price target of $111.00.

AXP has been the topic of several other research reports. UBS Group initiated coverage on shares of American Express in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. They issued a buy rating and a $111.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of American Express from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, March 6th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of American Express from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, March 23rd. William Blair reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of American Express in a report on Friday, March 16th. Finally, Guggenheim reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $104.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Thursday, April 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $107.49.

American Express traded up $1.03, hitting $98.00, on Friday, according to Marketbeat.com. 4,698,521 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,019,887. The company has a current ratio of 1.90, a quick ratio of 1.90 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.67. American Express has a fifty-two week low of $83.33 and a fifty-two week high of $103.24. The firm has a market capitalization of $83.43 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.70, a PEG ratio of 1.31 and a beta of 1.10.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, April 18th. The payment services company reported $1.86 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.15. American Express had a net margin of 8.79% and a return on equity of 28.41%. The company had revenue of $9.72 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.49 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.34 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.6% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts predict that American Express will post 7.23 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, August 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 6th will be paid a dividend of $0.35 per share. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.43%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 5th. American Express’s dividend payout ratio is currently 23.85%.

American Express declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, June 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $3.40 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the payment services company to buy up to 4.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other American Express news, Vice Chairman Stephen J. Squeri sold 12,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $98.05, for a total transaction of $1,225,625.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 203,920 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $19,994,356. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CFO Jeffrey C. Campbell sold 9,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $98.79, for a total transaction of $889,110.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 70,986 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,012,706.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 80,936 shares of company stock worth $8,082,400. 0.20% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of AXP. Boston Partners raised its stake in American Express by 447.8% during the first quarter. Boston Partners now owns 4,807,964 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $448,487,000 after purchasing an additional 3,930,338 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC raised its stake in American Express by 847.9% during the fourth quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,480,273 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $147,006,000 after purchasing an additional 1,324,105 shares during the period. Swedbank purchased a new position in American Express during the fourth quarter worth approximately $98,751,000. Veritas Asset Management LLP raised its stake in American Express by 9.0% during the first quarter. Veritas Asset Management LLP now owns 11,996,953 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $1,119,076,000 after purchasing an additional 992,800 shares during the period. Finally, American Century Companies Inc. raised its stake in American Express by 11.5% during the first quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 5,239,962 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $488,784,000 after purchasing an additional 539,681 shares during the period. 82.84% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

American Express Company Profile

American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to consumers and businesses worldwide. It operates through four segments: U.S. Consumer Services, International Consumer and Network Services, Global Commercial Services, and Global Merchant Services.

Analyst Recommendations for American Express (NYSE:AXP)

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