American Express Co., the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, said fourth-quarter profit matched analysts' estimates.

Net income doubled to $1.3 billion, or $1.21 a share, from $637 million, or 56 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Profit excluding some legal costs was $1.25 a share, meeting the average estimate of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Kenneth I. Chenault cut jobs last year, mostly in travel services, as AmEx sought to broaden the client base beyond more-affluent credit and charge-card customers. The firm rolled out products including a prepaid card sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and signed deals with Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp to issue AmEx-branded cards.

"Outperformance will likely be harder to come by," Ryan Nash, an analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said in a Jan. 7 research note, referring to the firm's stock gains last year. "Markets have gone higher and house prices have increased, yet growth has not seen the same acceleration."

American Express declined less than 1 percent to $87.78 at 4:01 p.m. in New York. It increased 58 percent last year, outpacing the Dow Jones Industrial Average's 27 percent advance.