American Express Co. on Monday reported record earnings of $578 million for the second quarter, up 11% from a year earlier. Earnings per share of $1.24 beat the First Call Corp. analyst consensus by 2 cents.
Earnings at Travel Related Services, its card business unit, were up 18%, to $360 million. The unit's revenues were up 8%, reflecting higher billed business, which was up 11% in the United States and 4% internationally, the company said. Average spending per customer was up 7%, to $1,717.
The number of cards in force was virtually unchanged in the United States at 29.6 million, but increased 13% abroad, where Amex has been successful in forging card-related partnerships with other financial institutions.
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Moshe Orenbuch said the result showed "decent growth and charge volume, but (the card business) is not accelerating. It is stable."