American Express ( AXP) surged past analysts' third-quarter estimates Monday, despite the credit card company's profit falling by nearly 25% as the economy takes its toll on even wealthy consumers.

For the three months ending Sept. 30, American Express made $815 million, or 70 cents a share, vs. $1.06 billion, or 90 cents a share in the third quarter of last year. Net income from continuing operations, which excludes its soon-to-be-sold American Express International Deposit Co., fell 23% to $861 million, or 74 cents a share, the company said.

Total revenue inched up just 2% to $6.25 billion in the quarter.

Analysts had predicted the New York card and travel services company would make 59 cents a share on $7.3 billion of revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Shares of American Express surged more than 7% in recent after-hours trading after the results were announced.

Still, Chairman and CEO Ken Chenault delivered some pessimistic comments about the company until the economy recovers.

"We saw clear signs earlier this year of a weakening environment and the recent volatility in the financial markets has reinforced our view that consumer and business sentiment is likely to deteriorate further, translating into weaker economies around the globe well into 2009," Chenault said in a statement. "Card member spending is likely to remain soft. Loan growth will be restrained, in part because of the steps we are taking to reduce credit risks, and credit indicators are likely to reflect the continued downturn in the economy and throughout the housing sector."

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