NEW YORK - American Express Co. said Monday that its second-quarter profits sank 76%, to $178 million, or 13 cents a share, in line with a forecast issued last week. Before last week analysts had been expecting the company to post per-share earnings of 54 cents for the three months. But on Wednesday Amex stunned Wall Street by announcing that it would lay off 5,000 employees because of the effect of the economy's downturn on corporate travel budgets.

Amex had also said last week that it would take an $826 million pretax charge caused by writing down high-yield investments, the second such charge this year.

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