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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
05/03/201614:18:00American Express Declares Regular Quarterly Dividend
05/02/201615:06:34Current Report Filing (8-k)
05/02/201614:06:00American Express Company Elects Ralph de la Vega to Board of...
05/02/201610:23:00Buffett Defends AmEx CEO's Decision to End Costco Deal -CNBC
04/27/201618:20:00Ameriprise Operating Earnings Fall on Equity-Market Dislocation
04/27/201609:30:00Hiring Plans on the Rise but Finding the Right Staff is the Biggest...
04/26/201612:15:21Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/25/201613:08:00American Express, in Partnership with World Monuments Fund, Awards...
04/21/201603:02:00AmEx Profit Drops but Beats Expectations -- WSJ
04/20/201619:13:00American Express Profit Drops But Beats Expectations -- 3rd Update
04/20/201617:40:00American Express Profit Declines on Higher Costs
04/20/201617:15:00American Express Profit Declines on Higher Costs -- 2nd Update
04/20/201617:00:00American Express Profit Declines -- Update
04/20/201616:47:00American Express Profit Declines
04/20/201616:17:05Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/20/201616:10:00American Express First Quarter EPS of $1.45, Full Year Outlook...
04/15/201612:01:49Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/15/201611:14:00American Express Declares Dividend on Series B Preferred Stock
04/08/201613:52:00MARKET SNAPSHOT: Wall Street Pares Gains As Gap Inc., Retailers...
04/08/201611:31:00MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stocks Extend Gains As Energy Sector Soars

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