American Express Co.'s first-quarter profit surged 82.1% from the previous quarter but fell 55.9% from a year earlier, to $437 million, or 31 cents a share, trouncing the 12-cent average of analysts' estimates.

Credit expenses grew 28.4% from the previous quarter and 48.9% from the year earlier, to $1.8 billion. But noncredit and noninterest expense fell 26% from the previous quarter and 21.7% from the year earlier, to $3.6 billion. The New York card company attributed part of the decline to a restructuring effort and said it would cut additional costs this quarter.

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