reported Monday that first-quarter profits jumped 14%, helped by strong performances in the company's charge card services and financial advisers groups.
The financial services giant exceeded Wall Street expectations, posting earnings of $656 million, or $1.44 a diluted share, up from $575 million, or $1.26 a share, a year earlier. A consensus survey of Wall Street analysts had forecast earnings of $1.42 a share, according to
First Call/Thomson Financial
. Revenue rose 18% to $5.3 billion from $4.5 billion.
In early trading Monday, shares of American Express were up 4 5/16, or 3%, to 147 5/16. (American Express closed up 7, or 5%, at 150.)
New York-based American Express said its performance was driven by a 15% increase in earnings for its travel-related services unit, which includes its popular charge cards and credit cards. A combination of high consumer confidence and card-holder rewards and benefits programs helped raise the average spending per card holder, the company said.
Income from the company's financial adviser services rose 15% while its bank and travelers check business posted no change in earnings.