American Express (NYSE:AXP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday, January 3rd. The brokerage presently has a $111.00 target price on the payment services company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 11.66% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Express have outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company continues to witness strong loan growth and credit metrics, plus lower operating costs. A solid market position, strength in card business and significant opportunities from the secular shift toward electronic payments are growth drivers. Strategic initiatives focusing on the platinum card portfolio and the OptBlue program will drive business volume. Cost reduction and return of significant capital to shareholders through dividend and share buyback are also positives. However, an increase in provision for losses, high rewards expense and cost of card member services are the other headwinds.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Deutsche Bank began coverage on American Express in a report on Tuesday, January 2nd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $118.00 price target for the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $116.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Friday, December 22nd. Bank of America set a $128.00 price target on American Express and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, December 18th. ValuEngine cut American Express from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, December 1st. Finally, Atlantic Securities raised American Express from an “underweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $100.00 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $101.08.

Shares of American Express (AXP) opened at $99.41 on Wednesday. American Express has a one year low of $75.51 and a one year high of $102.39. The company has a quick ratio of 1.90, a current ratio of 2.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.11. The company has a market capitalization of $86,478.46, a PE ratio of 16.92, a PEG ratio of 1.36 and a beta of 1.22.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, January 18th. The payment services company reported $1.58 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.54 by $0.04. American Express had a return on equity of 26.07% and a net margin of 8.08%. The firm had revenue of $8.84 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $8.73 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.91 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 10.2% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that American Express will post 7.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, EVP Michael John O’neill sold 43,741 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $98.85, for a total value of $4,323,797.85. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 43,731 shares in the company, valued at $4,322,809.35. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Susan Sobbott sold 5,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.34, for a total value of $518,870.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 318,254 shares of company stock valued at $31,059,302 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of AXP. Lazard Asset Management LLC grew its position in American Express by 117.3% in the first quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 597,830 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $47,293,000 after acquiring an additional 322,742 shares during the period. First Heartland Consultants Inc. grew its position in American Express by 32.4% in the first quarter. First Heartland Consultants Inc. now owns 7,564 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $598,000 after acquiring an additional 1,850 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in American Express by 2,686.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 44,177,867 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $3,494,913,000 after acquiring an additional 42,592,136 shares during the period. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. purchased a new position in American Express in the first quarter worth approximately $23,057,000. Finally, Amalgamated Bank grew its position in American Express by 1.9% in the first quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 53,485 shares of the payment services company’s stock worth $4,231,000 after acquiring an additional 994 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 83.57% of the company’s stock.

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American Express Company Profile

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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