American Express (AXP) reported a 12% increase in earnings Wednesday on the strength of improvements in credit quality, cuts in expenses and a modest boost in revenue.

The credit card issuer's first-quarter net income was $1.43 billion, up from $1.28 billion in the same period a year earlier. Earnings per share rose by 16% to $1.33, which nudged past the $1.30 consensus projected by analysts.

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