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