Costco just handed American Express a huge quarter


American Express on Wednesday reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations.


The financial services company's 37% jump in year-on-year profits was possible in part because of the sale of its Costco co-brand portfolio. That added $1.1 billion to net income, or $677 million after-tax.

American Express ended its exclusive cobranding agreement with Costco, saying it couldn't reach a deal that made economic sense. It announced the sale to Citi in February.

The company posted $2.10 in adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the second quarter, on revenues of $8.2 billion.

It took a $151 million restructuring charge during the quarter. Excluding charges, EPS was $2.26.


Analysts had forecast that the company reported adjusted EPS of $1.95 on revenues of $8.46 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Their concerns had ranged from increased competition in the credit card lending space, to, perhaps more importantly, the impact of Costco's co-branding portfolio loss.

"With our completion of the Federal Reserve's annual stress test, we now plan to increase the quarterly dividend by 10 percent to 32 cents per share and repurchase up to an additional $3.3 billion shares over the next four quarters," said American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault in the earnings statement.

Chenault said 2016 results are expected to be at the "high end" of the range the company earlier projected; it forecast EPS of $5.19 to $4.49 per share for 2016.

The company's shares rose nearly 2% shortly after the earnings crossed.


More to come ...

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