American Express stock jumped nearly 12% since earnings dropped.
Even though American Express (AXP) – Get Free Report earnings announced Friday afternoon fell somewhat short of expectations for the quarter, shares still soared to highs unseen for many months due to a number of strong metrics — quarterly revenue growth of 17%, plans to raise its dividend by 15% from 52 to 60 cents and an annual revenue that surpassed $50 billion for the first time ever.
At $52.9 billion, the latter is driven primarily by an increase in quarterly member spending. Last year, that number was at $42.4 billion.
According to American Express Chairman and CEO Stephen J. Squeri, the increase can be attributed to higher numbers of millennials gaining in earning power and using their AmEx above other cards to tap into rewards as many approach milestones like marriage, career advancement, and homeownership.
“Millennial and Gen Z customers continue to be the largest drivers of our growth, representing over 60% of proprietary consumer card acquisitions in the quarter and for the full year,” Squeri said in an earnings call discussing the results.
People Are Using Their AmEx Cards a Lot
The $52.9 billion number is up 25% from what was seen last quarter and reflects a number of different factors also having to do with post-pandemic spending.
“We ended 2022 with record revenues, which grew 25% from a year earlier, and earnings per share of $9.85, both well above the guidance that we provided when we introduced our long-term growth plan at the start of last year, despite a mixed economic environment,” Squeri said.
AmEx further reported that 12.5 million new members signed up for cards in 2022 while existing members used their cards frequently. Fourth-quarter sales at AmEx’s U.S. consumer services and commercial segments rose by a respective 23% and 15%.
But higher expenses also led to falling below analyst expectations. The fourth-quarter income of $1.57 billion, or $2.07 a share, is down from $1.72 billion ($2.18 a share) in the fourth quarter of 2021. FactSet analysts had predicted $2.23 a share.
“I’m not sure what that’s really a function of right now — whether it’s a function of the economy or of confusion on where to advertise right now,” Squeri told Yahoo Finance in reference to lower spending on the part of small business and digital advertisers. “We’re going to watch that, but the consumer is really strong, travel bookings are up over 50% vs pre-pandemic.”
It’s a Good Time to Be Tracking Credit Card Companies
Immediately after the earnings dropped, AmEx stock started soaring and was up nearly 12% at $175.24 on Friday afternoon. This is a high unseen in months — the last peak occurred when, on September 12, shares were at $162.45.
Whether due to or despite analyst threats of a looming recession, people have been using their credit cards very actively throughout the end of 2022.
When it posted its earnings earlier this week, Mastercard (MA) – Get Free Report surpassed Wall Street expectations of $5.8 billion and $2.65 per share in fourth-quarter earnings. Visa (V) – Get Free Report also saw revenue rise 11.8% to $7.94 billion in the same quarter. The numbers also reflect higher numbers of people traveling and using their credit cards in different countries.
“Visa’s performance in the first quarter of 2023 reflects stable domestic volumes and transactions and a continued recovery of cross-border travel,” outgoing CEO Al Kelly said of the results during a call with financial analysts.