Updated from 1:44 p.m. EDT
Consumers spent more money with
charge cards in the past three months, driving the company's quarterly profits up 14% and matching Wall Street estimates.
New York-based American Express reported quarterly net income of $737 million, up from $648 million in the same period a year ago. Its earnings per share rose 15% to 54 cents, compared with 47 cents a year ago.
The results in the latest quarter matched the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by market research firm
First Call/Thomson Financial
Mark Alpert, an analyst who follows American Express for
Deutsche Banc Alex Brown
, described the report as uneventful, but noted that revenue growth slowed slightly, to 13% in the quarter, compared with 16% over the first half of the year. He has a buy rating on the stock and his firm has no underwriting relationship with the financial services giant.
Revenue rose 13% in the third quarter, to $5.5 billion, from $4.92 billion the year-earlier quarter.
Travel Related Services
segment, which accounts for the bulk of American Express' business and includes charge cards and travelers checks, reported quarterly net income of $507 million, up 14% from the same period last year.
The growth reflected an increase of 5.6 million charge cards in the hands of consumers, a 13% jump from a year ago to 50.4 million, and higher average spending per cardmember, the company said in a statement. The average charge per card was $2,041 in the quarter, compared with $1,935.
In addition, the number of businesses that accept the American Express card increased from a year ago.
The company's investment advisory arm, Minneapolis-based
American Express Financial Advisors
, reported profits of $269 million, up 12% from last year's third quarter. The growth was due to an increase in the amount of assets under management, which resulted in an increase in fee revenues.
American Express reported its financial results Monday afternoon during regular stock trading. The company finished Monday regular down $1.69, or 3%, at $54.38.