Shares of American Express (AXP) - Get American Express Company Report were up 1.7% Thursday to $115.99 after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight while also raising tjheir price target to $140 from $123 per share.
The price target represents a 23% upside from the stock's closing price Wednesday of $114.02.
"Consumer delivers the largest and fastest growing revenue pool at Amex, at 53% of total revenue pie and 12% revenue growth y/y," said Morgan Stanley analyst Betsy Graseck. "We expect Amex can continue this strong, above industry-average pace on 1) record growth in proprietary cards of 12 million, up 13% y/y; 2) strong contribution from Millennials, which are almost half of all new accounts; and 3) fee-based products driving ~2/3 of new accounts, as clients are confirming the value of the Amex brand."
American Express has had a strong year of trading, climbing more than 20% year to date. That doesn't stop Graseck from saying the company still has a lot more room to run.
"AXP is driving robust top-line growth from a combination of strong loan and transactional growth," Graseck said. "Most of the growth today is coming from the Consumer business. But over the next several years, investors need to be focused on the Commercial payments opportunity set, particularly as [business-to-business] becomes increasingly digital. We believe AXP is well positioned in the Commercial payments ecosystem to take advantage of this trend."