NEW YORK — American Express Co. executives told investors Wednesday that delinquencies are growing less than in previous quarters, and that the new business environment for credit-card companies will negatively impact returns.

Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault said during a conference in New York, sponsored by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., that delinquencies stabilized; he expects the company's loan loss ratios to climb between 200 basis points and 250 basis points this quarter, from 8.5% in the first quarter. Assuming unemployment reaches 9.7%, third-quarter loan losses are expected to rise another 50 basis points, and remain flat in the fourth.

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