AMEX Beats on Q4 Results

American Express (NYSE:AXP) reported fourth-quarter results that beat analyst expectations, sending the stock higher as card fee revenues grew more than expected.

Earnings registered at $2.03 per share, as compared to the $2.01 per share forecast by experts. Revenue was $11.365 billion, in comparison to the $11.36 billion expected.

Net card fees were $1.08 billion, as opposed to estimates of $1.05 billion. Discount revenue was $6.83 billion, in contrast to the $6.88 billion forecast

American Express said its stronger-than-forecast profit was driven in large part by a "well-balanced mix" in fee, spending and lending revenues.

"These results demonstrate the success of our strategy to generate sustainable, profitable growth across the enterprise over the long term," said CEO Stephen Squeri.

The company’s adjusted annual profit came in at $8.30 per share, representing a 12% jump from the previous year. American Express expects 2020 profits to range between $8.85 per share and $9.25 per share.

Analysts expected earnings guidance ranging between $8.49 per share and $9.67 per share. The company also sees revenues growing between 8% and 10%.

American Express shares have surged more than 31% over the past 12 months, beating the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average in that time. They leaped $5.12, or 3.9%, at Friday’s open to $136.49

The stock also got a boost this year after China’s central bank accepted an application from an American Express unit to do business in the second-largest economy in the world.