Overall, shares of American Express have outperformed the market as the stock is only down 10% from it's all-time highs in February. And, it's up 4% YTD, while the S&P 500
Inside the Numbers
In Q1, American Express reported $2.73 per share in earnings which exceeded estimates of $2.48 per share in earnings. However, this was a slight decrease of 0.5% compared to last year. Revenue increased 29% to $11.7 billion which was slightly higher than analysts' estimates.
Some of the contributors to these results were the addition of 3 million new cards and a 121% increase in travel and entertainment spending. This exposure to travel should continue to be a tailwind for the company.
Network volume increased 30%, reaching $350.3 billion. The provision for credit losses was reduced by $33 million, while total expenses increased by $9.1 billion, a 34% increase. Provision for credit losses amounted to a benefit of $33 million compared with the year-ago quarter's provision benefit of $675 million.
The company also reaffirmed its full-year outlook which indicates EPS between $9.25 and $9.65 and revenue growth in the range of 18 to 20%.
American Express is also a beneficiary of higher rates as it has $28 billion in cash, and this flows straight to the bottom line. Further, there is little sign of economic stress in terms of defaults, while spending remains elevated. Unlike most credit card companies, American Express is unique in that it takes on credit risk, however, its clientele tends to be in the upper-income range and is less affected by inflation, at least so far.
Of course, the reason for current market weakness seems to be an increasing expectation that growth is about to roll over. Therefore, it makes sense that shares are more reacting to an earnings slowdown in the coming quarters rather than the better than expected results from the past quarter.