Net income at charge card giant American Express ( AXP) fell by 7% in the second quarter, but operating profits and revenue exceeded Wall Street expectations. In the quarter, the New York-based financial services firm earned $945 million, or 76 cents a share, compared with $1 billion, or 81 cents a share, in the prior year. The decline in net income stemmed from last year's spinoff of AmEx's financing planning division, now called Ameriprise Financial ( AMP). Earning from continuing operations, by contrast, rose 13% to $972 million, or 78 cents a share. A year ago, AmEx earned $860 million, or 69 cents from continuing operations. Revenue rose 14% to $6.88 billion. Analysts, as surveyed by Thomson Financial, had forecast operating earnings of 74 cents a share on revenue of $6.64 billion. As is customary, AmEx released its earnings at midday. Shares of AmEx most recently were up $1 to $51.64. "The second quarter results were driven by record spending on American Express cards with strong growth among consumers, small businesses and corporations,'' says AmEx Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault. Earnings from AmEx are widely watched on Wall Street because the company's fortunes are often seen as gauge of the health of the economy, in particular the business community. Discount revenue rose 15% to $3.3 billion, as the firm's card holders spend more in the quarter than in the year ago period. Net finance charge revenue rose 36% to $867 million. Income from securitizations rose 26% to $372 million. The one disappointing line of business for AmEx in the quarter its travel-related services. Commissions and fees in the division declined 4% to $483 million. Marketing and promotional expenses rose 16% to $1.67 billion. Total expenses rose 13% to $2.56 billion. Credit quality remained strong, with provision for losses declining by 4% to $351 million.