Financial Performance

American Express Shares Jump on Revenue Gain

The Q4 results "demonstrate the success of our strategy to generate sustainable, profitable growth across the enterprise over the long term.”
Matthew HellerJanuary 24, 2020

American Express shares rose to a record high on Friday after the company posted better-than-expected earnings and issued optimistic guidance for 2020.

For the fourth quarter, American Express earned $2.03 per share as revenue increased 9% to $11.365 million. Analysts had expected earnings of $2.01 per share on revenue of $11.36 billion.

“We once again delivered steady, consistent performance in the fourth quarter, marking our 10th straight quarter of FX-adjusted revenue growth at or above 8 percent,” said CEO Stephen Squeri said in a news release. “These results demonstrate the success of our strategy to generate sustainable, profitable growth across the enterprise over the long term.”

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American Express shares jumped to a record high of $137.54, up 4.7%, as the company also forecast earnings per share for 2020 of $8.85 per share and $9.25 per share and revenue growth of 8% to 10%. In 2019, earnings were $7.99 per share.

The stock has surged more than 31% over the past 12 months, beating the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average in that time.

“Our consistent performance, along with our continued investments in product innovation and growth opportunities, gives us confidence that we have a long runway for steady growth over the long term,” Squeri said.

According to CNBC, American Express’ “strong performance coincides with data showing consumer strength over the past year despite geopolitical tensions and worries about an economic slowdown. The latest data from the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment remained near its highest level in years.”

The company attributed its fourth-quarter growth to “a well-balanced mix of growth in fee, spend and lend revenues, consistent with the high levels of revenue growth the company has delivered for over two years.”

Squeri noted that American Express added 11.5 million new proprietary cards in 2019. With nearly 70% of new card members opting for the company’s fee-based products, card fee revenue grew 17%, he said.

American Express’ expenses rose more than expected but analysts said investors are more focused on its revenue and earnings hitting targets.

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