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S&P Raises American Express Subsidiary Ratings

By Andrew R. Johnson Standard & Poor's raised its long-term issuer ratings for American Express Co.'s (AXP) core operating subsidiaries by one notch, citing the credit-card lender's strong performance during the credit crisis. American Express, the largest U.S. credit-card lender by spending, recovered from the financial crisis more quickly than its peers thanks in part to its focus on affluent borrowers. The company focuses on issuing credit and charge cards to borrowers with pristine credit, generating revenue largely from fees it charges merchants for accepting those cards and fees customers pay. S&P raised its ratings on American Express' operating subsidiaries to A- from BBB+ Wednesday. It also affirmed its A-2 short-term issuer ratings on the subsidiaries and its BBB+/A-2 issuer ratings on its non-operating holding company. "The company did not post any quarterly losses during the credit crisis and its recent earnings were strong," S&P credit analyst John Bartko said in a statement. S&P has the long-term ratings on "stable" outlook, reflecting the lender's "positive customer spending trends" and strong performance, though it takes into account the "fragile state of the U.S. economic recovery" and more regulatory pressure. While delinquency and net charge-off rates are near historic lows for many credit-card lenders, American Express has seen some of the lowest rates in the industry. The company faces headwinds this year as payments from Visa Inc. (V) and MasterCard Inc. (MA) from a past settlement have ended and delinquencies potentially edge up, putting more pressure on expense control. American Express' shares were down 2.5% at $53.98 in after-hours trading Wednesday after closing up 2.6%. Its shares are up more than 17% for the year. -Write to Andrew R. Johnson at andrew.r.johnson@dowjones.com

Stock News for American Express (AXP)
DateTimeHeadline
03/29/201715:01:00AmEx Fires Another Shot at Chase's Sapphire Reserve -- Update
03/27/201714:52:00American Express Declares Regular Quarterly Dividend
03/23/201709:25:52Additional Proxy Soliciting Materials (definitive) (defa14a)
03/22/201711:19:00American Express Plans Live Audio Webcasts of the First Quarter...
03/22/201711:15:46Additional Proxy Soliciting Materials (definitive) (defa14a)
03/22/201709:00:00American Express Announces Strategic New Hires within Global...
03/20/201717:02:38Proxy Statement (definitive) (def 14a)
03/15/201712:02:35Current Report Filing (8-k)
03/15/201709:30:00Worldwide Bus. Outlook on Economic Expansion at 10-Year High...
03/15/201706:30:00Southeastern Grocers Upgrades Loyalty Program with Plenti®
03/09/201714:14:00AmEx's Lending Push Goes Beyond Cards -- Update
03/09/201714:03:00AmEx's Lending Push Goes Beyond Cards
03/07/201717:06:00Consumers Take a Credit-Card Breather
03/02/201709:00:00American Express Redefines Premium with The New Platinum Card®
03/02/201700:30:00Which Reward Card Offers Sweetest Perks?
03/02/201700:30:00AmEx Pumps Up Rewards for Card That Competes with J.P. Morgan's...
03/01/201706:00:00Canadian SMEs shrug off uncertainty and eagerly anticipate growth...
02/28/201718:32:00Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/23/201716:01:10Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/17/201711:51:33Notice of Iran-related Disclosure Filed Pursuant to Section 13(r)(3...

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