American Express Co (AXP): Today's Featured Financial Services 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 Services industry higher today making it today's featured financial services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.2%. By the end of trading, American Express rose $0.76 (1.0%) to $76.47 on average volume. Throughout the day, 6,713,432 shares of American Express exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5,360,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $75.63-$76.67 after having opened the day at $75.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $75.71. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that increased today were: First Marblehead Corporation ( FMD), up 7.6%, Paulson Capital ( PLCC), up 6.5%, Fortress Investment Group ( FIG), up 5.5% and NewStar Financial ( NEWS), up 4.8%.
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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 $83.7 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 31.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate American Express a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 11 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 increase in net income, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. 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, Atlanticus Holdings ( ATLC), down 13.0%, Marine Petroleum ( MARPS), down 8.3%, Nomura Holdings ( NMR), down 6.5% and Mesa Royalty ( MTR), down 6.3% , were all laggards within the financial services industry with TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation ( AMTD) being today's financial services industry laggard.

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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