American Express Earnings Jump 10%

  • American Express reports first-quarter earnings per share of $1.07.
  • Analysts were expecting EPS of a dollar.
  • Total revenue grows 8% year-over-year.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - American Express ( AXP) on Wednesday reported a 10% year-over-year increase in earnings, and an 9% increase in revenue, net of interest expense.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $1.26 billion, or $1.07 a share, increasing from $1.19 billion, or $1.01 a share, during the fourth quarter, and $1.18 billion, or 97 cents a share, during the first quarter of 2011.

The first-quarter earnings came in ahead of the one dollar EPS estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Total first-quarter revenues, net of interest expense, were $$7.61 billion, compared to $7.74 billion the previous quarter, and $7.03 billion a year earlier. First-quarter revenues came in ahead of the consensus estimate of $7.57 billion.

The company's first-quarter provision for loan losses totaled $412 million, increasing from $409 million the previous quarter, and $97 million a year earlier, reflecting "a larger lending reserve release in the year ago period, partially offset by lower net write-offs in the current quarter. Credit quality continued to be at historically strong levels."

CEO Kenneth Chenault said that "Higher cardmember spending, excellent credit metrics and disciplined expense management helped us to start 2012 with record first-quarter earnings and revenues."

For the company's U.S. Card Services division, first-quarter net income was $752 million, increasing from $727 million in the fourth quarter, and from $555 million in the first quarter of 2011. Total expenses in the U.S. Card division declined by 4% year-over-year, which included a 10% decline in salaries and employee expenses, "primarily reflecting higher restructuring and other reengineering costs in the year-ago period."

For the International Card Services division, American Express reported first-quarter net income of $197 million, increasing from $152 million the previous quarter, and $189 million a year earlier.

Global Commercial Services net income during the first quarter was $177 million, declining from $180 million in the fourth quarter and $184 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Global Network and Merchant Services net income increased to $357 million during the first quarter, from $324 million the previous quarter, and $313 million a year earlier.

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