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American Express Posts Earnings Beat on Consumer Spending Rebound

American Express posts third-quarter earnings that handily beat forecasts amid an ongoing post-pandemic boom in consumer and business spending.

American Express  (AXP) - Get Free Report on Friday posted third-quarter earnings that handily beat analysts forecasts amid an ongoing post-pandemic boom that continues to drive consumers and businesses to pull out their green, gold and platinum plastic.

American Express said it earned $1.8 billion, or $2.27 a share, in the third quarter, above the $1.1 billion, or $1.30 a share it earned a year ago and well ahead of the $1.80 a share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue surged 25%, coming in at $10.93 billion, above the $8.75 billion the company posted a year earlier and above analysts' forecasts of $10.5 billion as consumer and business spending both surged, American Express said.

American Express CEO Stephen Squeri pointed specifically to the continued rebound in travel and entertainment spending, "...with restaurant spending notably resilient, growing above pre-pandemic levels in the quarter."

Squeri also referenced those who are doing the spending -- Millennial and Gen Z customers -- a target consumer group that American Express has made strategic investments over the past year to attract. 

American Express said spending by Millennial and Gen Z card members grew 38% above third-quarter 2019 levels. It also said it acquired 2.6 million new proprietary cards in the third quarter, "...with acquisitions of our U.S. consumer and small business Platinum and Gold Cards reaching all-time highs."

American Express said it cut its provisions for credit losses, resulting in a benefit of $191 million, compared with a provision expense of $665 million a year ago. The change in provisions primarily reflected credit reserve releases of $393 million and lower net write-offs in the current quarter, the company said.

Shares of American Express were up 0.81% at $178.91 in premarket trading. The stock is up 50.35% year to date.