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AmEx profit beats expectations as card spending hits record levels

(Reuters) – American Express Co (NYSE:AXP) exceeded Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday as spending on its credit cards jumped to record levels.

The company has enjoyed a surge in transaction volumes following the return of pre-pandemic habits like dining out and international travel, despite some turbulence late last year due to the Omicron variant.

“Our investment strategy enabled us to reach record levels of card member spending, maintain customer retention and satisfaction above pre-pandemic levels, increase new card acquisitions, grow our loan balances,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen Squeri said in a statement.

The credit-card giant expects the momentum to continue in 2022, estimating annual net revenue to grow between 18% and 20% and earnings per share of $9.25 to $9.65.

In the quarter to Dec. 31, the New York-based company’s total revenue excluding interest expense rose 30% to around $12.15 billion.

Net income came in at $1.7 billion, or $2.18 per share, compared with $1.44 billion, or $1.76 per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average were expecting a figure of $1.87 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

The company, however, saw a 29% surge in expenses due to increased compensation and higher usage of travel-related benefits.

The expense jump was in line with figures from other major financial institutions, which have started feeling the pinch of inflationary pressures.

Source: Reuters /

FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with the American Express logo is placed near a toy shopping cart in this illustration photo taken July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD

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