American Express Co (AXP): Today's Featured Real Estate Winner

American Express ( AXP) pushed the Real Estate industry higher today making it today's featured real estate winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.1%. By the end of trading, American Express rose 76 cents (1.4%) to $56.57 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3.8 million shares of American Express exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.4 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $55.94-$56.78 after having opened the day at $56.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $55.81. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that increased today were: Nationstar Mortgage Holdings ( NSM), up 9.1%, Institutional Financial Markets ( IFMI), up 8.9%, E-House China Holdings ( EJ), up 8.9%, and Elbit Imaging ( EMITF), up 8.6%.

American Express Company provides charge and credit payment card products, and travel-related services to worldwide. American Express has a market cap of $64.23 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.3, equal to the average financial services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate American Express a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Express as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, American Realty Investors ( ARL), down 4.8%, SYSWIN ( SYSW), down 4.5%, Amrep Corporation ( AXR), down 4.4%, and Vestin Realty Mortgage II ( VRTB), down 4.2%, were all losers within the real estate industry with Lexington Realty ( LXP) being today's real estate industry loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the real estate industry could consider iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate ( IYR) while those bearish on the real estate industry could consider ProShares Short Real Estate Fund ( REK).

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