American Express Co. (AXP) on Wednesday reported third-quarter net income of $1.25 billion, up 1% from the same period a year ago, as customer spending grew worldwide.
The credit card issuer reported earnings per share of $1.09, up 6% year over year and matching consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.
But quarterly revenues of $7.86 billion - though up year over year — fell short of a consensus estimate of $7.93 billion, and Amex's stock price fell 1% in after-hours trading. The firm's return on average equity fell to 150 basis points, to 26.3%.
The company said that customer spending rose from a year ago by 8% in the United States and 6% globally.
"That's a healthy pace in the current environment and an improvement from earlier in the year," Amex Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault said in a press release. "Nonetheless, it represents slower growth than we were generating earlier in the year, a trend that we're seeing among major card issuers. Credit quality remained at the historically strong levels, but we didn't have the same benefit from substantial reserve releases as last year when write-off and delinquencies were declining at a faster rate."
The results were aided by lower expenses compared to a year ago, though they were tempered by lower reserve releases, a reflection of greater concern about delinquencies. Amex's expenses fell nearly 2%, to $5.5 billion, year over year.