NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of American Express Co. (AXP) closed down -0.46% to $95.40 today as the U.S. government said the company hindered price competition in the U.S. credit card market and prevented merchants and consumers from reaping cost savings, during the first day of a trial in Brooklyn federal court, Reuters reports.
In an antitrust lawsuit, the Justice Department and 17 states have accused Amex of blocking credit card companies from lowering processing fees and allowing businesses to pass on savings to consumers.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis of Brooklyn, who is overseeing the trial and will determine the outcome, asked few questions on Monday and did not offer any clues on how he views the case, Reuters noted.
TheStreet Ratings team rates AMERICAN EXPRESS CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate AMERICAN EXPRESS CO (AXP) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- AXP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- AMERICAN EXPRESS CO has improved earnings per share by 15.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN EXPRESS CO increased its bottom line by earning $4.88 versus $3.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.46 versus $4.88).
- The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength 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.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Consumer Finance industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 11.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,280.00 million to $1,432.00 million.
- Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 27.59% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: AXP Ratings Report