American Express Co., the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, posted a third-quarter profit that beat analysts estimates as customer spending climbed.
Net income increased 9.3 percent to $1.37 billion, or $1.25 a share, from $1.25 billion, or $1.09, in the same period a year earlier, the New York-based lender said today in a statement. That beat the $1.22 average estimate of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Chief Executive Officer Kenneth I. Chenault is cutting 5,400 jobs this year, mostly in travel services, and plans to spin off part of that business as he seeks to cap expense growth. The firm also is vying to drive spending to its payments network, signing a deal in August with Wells Fargo & Co., which will issue Amex-branded cards and give the San Francisco-based bank more options to reward customers for their loyalty.
Amex operates the most stable rewards program, best positioned to continue to create value for both consumers and shareholders for years to come, Bill Carcache, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc., said last month in a research note. Even in the face of aggressive competitor reward campaigns, we expect Amex to continue to outperform.
American Express rose about 1.4 percent to $76.27 at 4 p.m. in New York. The shares climbed 33 percent this year, outpacing the 17 percent advance for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Chenault, 62, is seeking to limit expense growth to 3 percent over the next two years. The company, which issued its first travelers check in 1891, is cutting jobs as consumers and businesses rely more on digital technology for bookings. Commissions and fees fell 5 percent to $495 million in the second quarter from a year earlier amid a slide in global sales.
Last month, the company said it was in talks to spin off half of its business-travel unit and create a joint venture with Certares International Bank LLC. An investor group led by Certares would inject $700 million to $1 billion in return for a 50 percent stake, Amex said in a Sept. 25 statement.