A study of analyst recommendations at the major brokerages shows that American Express Co. (AXP) is the #26 broker pick, on average, out of the 30 stocks making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, according to ETF Channel. Within the broader S&P 500, when components were ranked in terms of analyst favorites, AXP claims the #361 spot.In forming this rank, the analyst opinions from the major brokerage houses were tallied, and averaged; then, the underlying components were ranked according to those averages. Investors often interpret analyst opinions from different angles — when companies have a low rank among analysts, it isn't necessarily the case that investors should conclude that the stock will perform poorly. It can, of course, but a bullish investor could also take the contrarian angle and read into the data that there is lots of room for upside because the stock is so out of favor. For these reasons, we at ETF Channel find value to putting together these rankings, because both the top and the bottom ends of the list can often make for some interesting stock picking ideas for further research. Below is a chart of rank over time: According to the ETF Finder at ETF Channel, AXP makes up 4.58% of the PowerShares BuyBack Achievers Portfolio ETF (PKW) which is trading lower by about 1.7% on the day Thursday. AXP operates in the Credit Services & Lending sector, among companies like S&P Global Inc (SPGI) which is off about 1.3% today, and Discover Financial Services (DFS) trading lower by about 2.3%. Below is a three month price history chart comparing the stock performance of AXP, versus SPGI and DFS. AXP is currently trading down about 1.7% midday Thursday.