American Express to Buoy Up on Growth Steps, Cost Control

Using a smartphone to calculate data

American Express Co.AXP is set to benefit from continued secular growth of electronic payments globally. Convenience, security, and enhanced services and rewards for consumers continue to fuel growth in electronic payments.

The company remains focused on several initiatives to strengthen its operations. These include renewed focus on its Platinum Card portfolios in the U.S. and Small Business Saturday to leverage on the ongoing expansion of its merchant network in the U.S. through the OptBlue program. Through OptBlue, the company has set an aggressive goal to achieve merchant coverage on a par with Visa Inc. V and MasterCard Inc. MA in the country by the end of 2019.

Apart from taking measures to improve its top line, the company has also launched cost initiatives designed to remove $1 billion from its overall cost base by the end of 2017. Adjusted operating expenses decreased in the first half of 2017, reflecting progress against cost-reduction initiatives. The company is on track to reduce $1 billion from cost based on a run-rate basis by the end of 2017.

The company's vast international business, expansion in verticals such as consumer, small business, new lending products and growth of the loyalty business would further drive its long-term growth. Another player in the same space Euronet Worldwide, Inc. EEFT also has significant international operations.

American Express enjoys a strong capital position and is committed to enhance shareholders' value. The company's 2017 capital plan received the Federal Reserve's approval, following which it hiked its quarterly dividend by 9.4%. The capital plan also includes repurchase of up to $4.4 billion of common shares through the second quarter of 2018.

Nevertheless, the company continues to face an increase in provision for loan loss. Also, increased rewards and marketing costs in order to fold more business will hurt margins.

Today's Stocks from Zacks' Hottest Strategies

It's hard to believe, even for us at Zacks. But while the market gained +18.8% from 2016 - Q1 2017, our top stock-picking screens have returned +157.0%, +128.0%, +97.8%, +94.7%, and +90.2% respectively.

And this outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. Over the years it has been remarkably consistent. From 2000 - Q1 2017, the composite yearly average gain for these strategies has beaten the market more than 11X over. Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that we're willing to share their latest stocks with you without cost or obligation.

See Them Free>>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report

Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (EEFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Visa Inc. (V): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on click here.

Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Other Topics


Latest Markets Videos


    Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on stock research, analysis and recommendations. In 1978, our founder discovered the power of earnings estimate revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank. A wealth of resources for individual investors is available at

    Learn More