BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- American Express ( AXP) has reported quarterly earnings.

Quarterly Synopsis: American Express's fourth-quarter net income soared 48% to $1.1 billion and earnings per share rose 47% to 88 cents, including $133 million of restructuring and other one-time charges. Revenue increased 13%. Credit quality continued to improve. Provisions for losses dropped from $748 million in the year-earlier quarter to just $239 million in the latest period. Furthermore, return on average equity, a key measure for stock holders, jumped from 15% to 27%, indicating stronger profitability of internal investments. The U.S. card services segment boosted profit 70%, outpacing the international unit's net income expansion of 48%.

Earnings Performance: American Express delivered adjusted earnings of 94 cents, narrowly missing the Wall Street consensus target of 97 cents by 2.6%. By comparison, American Express has an average historical earnings beat rate of 9.6%. It exceeded expectations in seven consecutive previous quarters. The company posted fourth-quarter sales of $7.3 billion, beating the consensus forecast by 0.6%. By comparison, American Express has an average historical sales beat rate of negative 1.2%. It beat top-line expectations in the five previous quarters.

Dividend Information: American Express pays a quarterly dividend of 18 cents, converting to an annual yield of 1.6%. The dividend has stagnated over 12 months, but has risen 4.6% and 8.5% annually, on average, over three- and five-year time periods, respectively.

Analyst Opinions: Currently, 18, or 67%, of analysts covering AmEx rate its stock "buy", seven rate it "hold" and one ranks it "sell." The stock has a median target of $51.63.

Citigroup, Buy, $60 Target
Barclays, Overweight, $55 Target
Sanford Bernstein, Market Perform, $51 Target
JPMorgan, Overweight, $50 Target
Credit Suisse, Underperform, $40 Target
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