American Express' ( AXP) fourth-quarter profit rose 24% amid big spending by consumers over the holiday season and strong loan growth. In the fourth quarter, the New York credit card giant made $922 million, or 75 cents a share, up from $745 million, or 59 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 13%, to $7.2 billion. But American Express just missed analysts' estimates. Analysts anticipated the credit card giant to earn 76 cents on $7.33 billion of revenue. Its U.S. cards business did well in the fourth quarter. Revenue for the unit rose 18%, to $3.8 billion from a year earlier, "reflecting higher spending and borrowing by consumers and small businesses," the company said. Net finance charge revenue rose 51% owing to "substantial owned loan volume growth and a higher yield," the company said. But revenue from international card and global commercial services rose just 6%, to $2.4 billion from a year earlier. American Express said it added 1.5 million cards during the quarter. In the fourth quarter, the company had a $68 million pretax gain ($42 million after taxes) related to the rebalancing of an investment portfolio to "better match the expected future redemptions" of outstanding Travelers Cheques and gift cards, it said. It also had a $64 million before taxes of restructuring costs. For the full year, American Express made $3.7 billion, or $3.01 a share. Shares were rising 8 cents to $58.17.