Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. Buys New Stake in American Express Company (AXP)
Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. bought a new position in shares of American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor bought 3,370 shares of the payment services company’s stock, valued at approximately $284,000.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in AXP. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in American Express by 1.5% during the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 49,502,529 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $3,916,145,000 after purchasing an additional 722,235 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in American Express by 2,686.0% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 44,177,867 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $3,494,913,000 after purchasing an additional 42,592,136 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its stake in American Express by 1.8% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 40,399,620 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $3,196,011,000 after purchasing an additional 731,315 shares in the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP grew its stake in American Express by 21.7% during the 1st quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 17,198,787 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $1,360,596,000 after purchasing an additional 3,071,573 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First Eagle Investment Management LLC grew its stake in American Express by 1.9% during the 1st quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 16,239,276 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $1,284,689,000 after purchasing an additional 305,651 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 82.78% of the company’s stock.
American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) traded up 1.36% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $92.86. The stock had a trading volume of 3,224,158 shares. American Express Company has a 1-year low of $59.78 and a 1-year high of $92.92. The company’s 50 day moving average is $88.29 and its 200 day moving average is $83.07. The company has a market cap of $82.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.04 and a beta of 1.21.
American Express (NYSE:AXP) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The payment services company reported $1.47 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.44 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $8.31 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.20 billion. American Express had a net margin of 14.11% and a return on equity of 21.90%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $2.10 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that American Express Company will post $5.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
American Express announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $4.40 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the payment services company to repurchase up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be given a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.51%. This is a boost from American Express’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. American Express’s dividend payout ratio is presently 28.63%.
A number of research analysts have commented on AXP shares. Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on American Express from $90.00 to $89.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, September 8th. Bank of America Corporation reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $102.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Monday, October 9th. BidaskClub downgraded American Express from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded American Express from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 30th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $100.00 target price (up previously from $99.00) on shares of American Express in a research note on Saturday, July 22nd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $87.69.
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In other news, insider Anre D. Williams sold 53,111 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.24, for a total value of $4,527,181.64. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 79,614 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,786,297.36. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Kenneth I. Chenault sold 789,503 shares of American Express stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.62, for a total transaction of $66,807,743.86. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 889,836 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $75,297,922.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 959,617 shares of company stock valued at $81,377,425 in the last three months. 0.67% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
About American Express
American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a global services company. The Company’s principal products and services are charge and credit card products, and travel-related services, which are offered to consumers and businesses around the world. Its segments include the U.S. Consumer Services (USCS), International Consumer and Network Services (ICNS), Global Commercial Services (GCS) and Global Merchant Services (GMS).
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