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

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 Services industry lower today making it today's featured Financial Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.9%. By the end of trading, American Express fell 60 cents (-1%) to $57.22 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.7 million shares of American Express exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $57.02-$57.69 after having opened the day at $57.36 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $57.82. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: Regional Management ( RM), down 3.8%, SWS Group ( SWS), down 3.5%, Horizon Technology Finance Corp BDC ( HRZN), down 3.3%, and China Ceramics ( CCCL), down 3.1%.
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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 $64.09 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 22.6% 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 nine 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 positive front, Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), up 123.8%, Security National Financial Corporation ( SNFCA), up 7.4%, Knight Capital Group ( KCG), up 5.9%, and Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. Class A ( OPY), up 4.2%, were all gainers within the financial services industry with Franklin Resources ( BEN) being today's featured financial services industry leader.

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

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