American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) today reported first quarter results after markets closed today. The financial services company reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.15 on revenues of $7.88 billion. In the same period last year the company reported EPS of $1.07 on revenues of $7.59 billion. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $1.12 on revenues of $8.05 billion.
American Express plans to raise its dividend from the current $0.20 per quarter to $0.23, beginning in the second quarter. The company expects to buy back $3.2 billion in stock over the course of 2013 and up to an additional $1 billion in the first quarter of next year.
The company’s CEO said:
Cardmember spending grew 6 percent (7 percent adjusted for foreign currency translations) and we saw a modest increase in loans outstanding. Revenue from annual cardmember fees was also up from a year ago, reflecting the value our customers see in their relationship with American Express. Credit indicators continued to be excellent. We made good headway throughout the business and continue to see very encouraging customer response to initiatives like our reloadable prepaid products and loyalty marketing initiatives that are expanding our footprint into newer segments of the market. Progress on cost control initiatives allowed us to continue to make investments to grow the business, while holding operating expenses well within our target of less than 3 percent annual growth for the next two years.
Last quarter American Express announced a restructuring of the company that included the firing of 5,400 employees and a pre-tax charge of $400 million to pay for the restructuring.
For the 2013 fiscal year, consensus estimates call for EPS of $4.76 on revenue of $33.33 billion. Today’s report from American Express did not include any guidance.
Shares are down about 1.1% at $64.13 in after-hours trading today. The 52-week range is $53.02 to $67.76. Prior to today’s release Thomson/Reuters had a consensus price target of around $67.00 on the company’s shares.