Jun. 17, 2014, 7:49 AM
- "I always figured AmEx (AXP) was for more well-off people, but if they are extending their hand to people who are less well off, it's OK by me," says Anthony Rodiguez, who carries AmEx's prepaid card, Bluebird, available only at Wal-Mart stores.
- Amid growing competition for its affluent customers from the likes of issuers like JPMorgan, AmEx is gunning the engines on its marketing machine after 18 months of tinkering with Bluebird's features. Along with a summer campaign for discounted gasoline, the company financed a documentary about unbanked consumers which premiered this month.
- "I want AmEx to be a more welcoming, inclusive brand," says CEO Ken Chenault. "This is not a trade-off that we are making with our brand ... This enhances our brand."
Jun. 16, 2014, 12:09 PM
Jun. 9, 2014, 3:21 PM
- The integration into the Uber iOS app allows American Express (AXP +0.9%) U.S. card members to choose to earn double points or use points for Uber rides, "the first time," say the two, "that consumers can use loyalty reward points seamlessly in-app and in real time for on-demand transportation in this way."
- Source: Press Release
- Previously: Uber raises $1.2B at $17B valuation
May 27, 2014, 10:32 AM
- "Revenue growth looks poised to accelerate, with several near-term catalysts including management presentations over [the] next 3 weeks, accelerating Y/Y revenue growth in Q2, gain on [the] travel JV finalized, and expansion of merchant network in H2," says analyst Betsy Graseck, "pounding the table" on American Express (AXP +2.4%).
- She notes the winter weather had airlines canceling the most flights ever in one quarter, but better weather combining with pent-up demand should fuel a big Q2.
- Morgan maintains its Outperform rating and $100 price target.
May 13, 2014, 3:26 PM
May 7, 2014, 2:47 PM
- The antitrust suit was brought by the DOJ and several states in 2010, charging American Express (AXP +1.8%) with setting rules preventing merchants from offering discounts/incentives to customers using less expensive (to the merchants) forms of payment.
- In requesting dismissal, AmEx argued the government could not prove the card company had significant market power, but the judge ruled the government didn't have to prove this, but instead could show AmEx's conduct had an "adverse effect on competition."
- Visa and MasterCard were also sued over this, but settled immediately.
May 6, 2014, 10:02 AM
- In an effort to lure more wealthy customers, Wells Fargo (WFC -0.6%) - through a partnership with American Express (AXP -0.7%) - is launching two new cards offering rewards to big everyday spenders or frequent fliers who also have another account with the bank. The new cards - Propel 365 and Propel World - offer up to an extra 50% in reward points depending on the size of a customer's accounts.
- Just 3% of consumers who charge more than $100K annually on their credit cards do it through a Wells Fargo product, according to a recent Wells presentation. At JPMorgan's February investor day, a slide showing what cards affluent customers choose didn't include Wells Fargo on the page. "We know we're under-penetrated in this customer base," says Beverly Anderson, the head of Wells' consumer financial services group.
Apr. 21, 2014, 10:28 AM
- Citi analysts post their list of 50 top Buy-rated stocks with a market cap of at least $3B, at least a top-three market share in a third of their businesses, and a global reach as measured by significant revenue outside of their home market; Business Insider highlights 20 according to estimated total return.
- Gilead Sciences (GILD) tops the list with a 45.4% ETR, and Citi believes GILD will generate a significant amount of cash and will buy back stock, engage in product and company acquisitions to grow its pipeline, and potentially start providing a dividend in 2-3 years.
- Rounding out the top 20: FB, BX, V, CERN, FLT, BA, MA, LVS, SBUX, MJN, GOOG, EBAY, BIIB, AXP, HOG, VFC, PII, VMC, FTI.
Apr. 16, 2014, 4:15 PM
- Total revenue of $8.2B up 5% Y/Y after adjusting for FX translations. Net income of $1.43B up 12%. EPS of $1.33 up 16% (shares outstanding fell by 4%). ROE of 28.3% up from 23.2%.
- U.S. Card Services net income of $876M up 9%. International Card Services net income of $159M fell 11%. Cardmember spending up 6% globally (7% after FX adjustment).
- Provisions of $485M up 17% thanks to a larger reserve release last year. Expenses of $5.5B off 1% (flat after FX adjustment), with lower operating expenses partially offset by higher rewards costs.
- CC at 5 ET
- Press release, Q1 results
- AXP -1.7% AH
Apr. 16, 2014, 4:08 PM| Comment!
Apr. 16, 2014, 12:10 AM
Apr. 15, 2014, 5:35 PM
Apr. 10, 2014, 10:45 AM
- The federal lawsuit had accused Amex (AXP -1.2%), Ciitgroup (C -0.7%), and Discover (DFS -0.6%) of colluding to adopt arbitration clauses preventing card holders from pursuing class action status in court.
- District Judge William Pauley ruled the plaintiffs failed to show the three violated the Sherman Act.
Mar. 27, 2014, 8:36 AM
- It's a slow grind for bank capital returns (at least those subject to the CCAR), notes Goldman' Richard Ramsden, with payout ratios boosted just four percentage points to 62% this year. There are clear winners, he says: The credit card companies led by AXP and COF and the trust banks led by BK. Regional banks (KRE) boosted returns but generally fell short of expectations (with HBAN and PNC being the exceptions). Worst-performing were the TBTFs, though JPM and WFC were positives.
- "CCAR highlighted the challenges large-caps have in returning excess capital," he says, with Citigroup's (C) failure a reminder the process is unpredictable. With all that excess capital remaining on the balance sheet, Ciit's 2015 goal of a 10% ROTCE appears unlikely to be met.
- For Bank of America (BAC), it's resubmission - a better outcome than outright failure - reminds that even well-capitalized banks are "bound by stressed capital and could have trouble returning outsized capital."
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, SEF, IYG, FXO, PFI, KBWB, FNCL, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, RWW, KBWR, RYF, PSCF, KRS, FINZ, AIRR
Mar. 26, 2014, 5:15 PM| Comment!
Mar. 26, 2014, 2:51 AM
- The Federal Reserve is due to say today whether it approves banks' plans to pay dividends and/or repurchase stock. The process is spread out over a week so that banks can alter their programs if they don't receive Fed authorization.
- Last year, the Fed told JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) to change their capital-allocation plans.
- The Fed's decision will come a week after it said that 29 out of 30 banks had passed its stress tests.
- Relevant tickers include C, MS, BAC, BK, AXP, COF, C, FITB, PNC, RF, STT, STI, USB, WFC, ZION.
- ETFs of interest: KBE, KBWB, KRE, KCE, KBWC, XLF, IYF, PFI, VFH, RYF, RWW, FAS, UYG, FAZ, SKF, SEF, IAI, FXO, PSCF, KBWD, KBWB, IYG, FINU, FINZ.
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