NEW YORK (
TheStreet) --Shares of
(AXP) were higher on above average volumes Thursday following an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" by Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Sameer Gokhale, who al raised his price target for the shares to $99 from $91.00.
American Express shares were up 1.2% to $85.24 on volume of nearly 2.1 million shares after an hour of trading. American Express ordinarily sees 4.4 million shares change hands each day.
Gokhale's more bullish view comes after American Express's semi-annual meeting with investors and analysts, in which the company described an initiative called OPEN, aimed at increasing acceptance among smaller merchants.
"We came away from the meeting feeling more confident that these initiatives combined with its focus on more affluent consumers should enable to it to continue to deliver strong returns and EPS growth," Gokhakle wrote.
A report from Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Sanjay Sakhrani was similarly positive, though he referred to the initiative as OptBlue rather than OPEN, suggesting Amex's marketing pitch could be clearer.
"OptBlue looks like a solid plan for increased acceptance as AXP attempts to close the acceptance parity gap between [Visa V and MasterCard MA]," wrote Sakhrani, who has an "outperform" rating an $98 price target on Amex.Shares of Visa were up 1.2% to $218.16 while MasterCard shares were up 2% to $74.27. Volumes on those stocks, however, were closer to their trailing three month daily averages. Follow @dan_freed
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV