American Express Co Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (AXP)

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.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- American Express (NYSE: AXP) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A- . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • AMERICAN EXPRESS CO's earnings per share declined by 44.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN EXPRESS CO reported lower earnings of $3.87 versus $4.08 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.78 versus $3.87).
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Consumer Finance industry and the overall market, AMERICAN EXPRESS CO's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICAN EXPRESS CO is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 26.50%. Regardless of AXP's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 7.33% trails the industry average.

American Express Company provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to customers worldwide. American Express has a market cap of $69.47 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full American Express Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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