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

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

American Express ( AXP) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, American Express rose 56 cents (1%) to $56.40 on average volume. Throughout the day, 5.4 million shares of American Express exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $55.75-$56.66 after having opened the day at $55.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $55.84. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), up 16%, Income Opportunity Realty Investors ( IOT), up 13.9%, Paulson Capital ( PLCC), up 13.8%, and MSB Financial Corporation ( MSBF), up 13.3%.
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American Express Company provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to customers worldwide. American Express has a market cap of $62.66 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 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, increase in net income, solid stock price performance and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, Credit Suisse ( DGAZ), down 12.1%, Homex Development ( HXM), down 10.6%, Porter Bancorp ( PBIB), down 10.1%, and Harleysville Savings Financial Corporation ( HARL), down 9.7%, were all laggards within the financial sector with AvalonBay Communities ( AVB) being today's financial sector laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the financial sector could consider Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).

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