Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- American Express

(NYSE:

AXP

) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A+ . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, notable return on equity, increase in net income and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • AMERICAN EXPRESS CO has improved earnings per share by 7.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN EXPRESS CO increased its bottom line by earning $4.08 versus $3.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.40 versus $4.08).
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Consumer Finance industry and the overall market, AMERICAN EXPRESS CO's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Consumer Finance industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 0.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,331.00 million to $1,339.00 million.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 27.80% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.

American Express Company provides charge and credit payment card products, and travel-related services to worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.3, equal to the average financial services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. American Express has a market cap of $64.02 billion and is part of the

financial

sector and

financial services

industry. Shares are up 19.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full

American Express Ratings Report

or get investment ideas from our

investment research center

.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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