American Express Chairman and CEO Stephen Squeri is striking an upbeat tone on a global economy still wading through the COVID-19 pandemic and now, dealing with increased stock market volatility.
“No, we don’t see a more cautious start [to the year]. The momentum that we had ending last year is still going,” Squeri told Yahoo Finance. “Travel bookings are up 19% in the first two weeks of January, continuing from 24% growth in the fourth quarter.”
Added Squeri, “We aren’t seeing any cautiousness at all.”
Here is how American Express (AXP) performed compared to Wall Street estimates:
American Express saw top- and bottom-line growth within all its business segments as the global economy continued to improve from the pandemic. The results were paced by the Global Merchant Service segment. Sales rose 31% from a year ago to $1.5 billion. Pre-tax profits increased to $508 million from $276 million a year ago.
Meanwhile, profits at Amex’s Global Commercial Services segment notched a profit of $776 million from $667 million last year. Profits in the Global Consumer Services segment clocked in at $1.3 billion, compared with $1.5 billion a year earlier.
For 2022, Amex sees sales rising 8% to 20% from the prior year. Earnings are pegged in a range of $9.25 to $9.65 per share. Analysts were looking for earnings of $9.67 per share. Longer term, Amex said it sees sales growth of 10% and mid-teens percentage earnings growth.
Squeri told Yahoo Finance the outlook for this year is strong, supported by momentum in attracting new card clients and spending by existing users.
Amex also lifted its dividend by 20%.
American Express shares rose 2.8% in pre-market trading Tuesday.
Shares of Amex have surged 27% so far on the year, outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 10% advance and S&P 500’s gain of 15%. Mastercard’s stock has risen 6% in the past year, while Visa has fallen slightly.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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