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American Express Co. posts 31% gain in first-quarter profit on card-member spending

The company's earnings per share for the period beat estimates
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The stock gained 2.4% on the news in extended trading

American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP) said first-quarter profit climbed 31% on higher card-member spending and growth in its loan portfolio.

Net income rose to US$1.6b3ln, or US$1.86 a share, from US$1.25bln, or US$1.35 a share, a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. That beat the consensus estimate of US$1.71 a share published on EarningsWhispers.com.

“Today’s results are showing good returns on the investments we’ve been making to drive growth in the premium sector, with cobrand partners, in our merchant network and with small and mid-sized businesses,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen J. Squeri said in the statement. “We plan to continue these investments this year and support our initiatives with the global brand campaign we launched this month.”

Amex said it expects to rise at least 8% this year and reitereated its forecast in January of earnings per share "on the high end" of a US$6.90 to US$7.30 range for the period.

The stock 2.4 % to US$97.45 in extended trading after the market close.

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