American Express Co. warned investors on Monday that its first-quarter profits will probably fall 18% because of losses sustained in the junk bond market.

In a press statement, the company said it will be forced to take a $185 million pretax charge from the writedown and sale of high-yield debt held in the portfolio of its investment subsidiary, American Express Financial Advisors. It said that per-share earnings should drop 18% from the 48 cents reported in the first quarter of 2000.

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