Van ECK Associates Corp cut its stake in shares of American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) by 44.5% during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The fund owned 166,854 shares of the payment services company’s stock after selling 133,709 shares during the period. Van ECK Associates Corp’s holdings in American Express were worth $13,200,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in AXP. Credit Agricole S A boosted its position in shares of American Express by 21.4% in the first quarter. Credit Agricole S A now owns 956,631 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $75,679,000 after buying an additional 168,699 shares in the last quarter. Rafferty Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of American Express by 439.2% in the first quarter. Rafferty Asset Management LLC now owns 217,446 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $17,202,000 after buying an additional 177,116 shares in the last quarter. Gardner Russo & Gardner LLC boosted its position in shares of American Express by 1.5% in the first quarter. Gardner Russo & Gardner LLC now owns 160,993 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $12,736,000 after buying an additional 2,360 shares in the last quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of American Express by 45.6% in the first quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC now owns 831,873 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $65,809,000 after buying an additional 260,683 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Burney Co. boosted its position in shares of American Express by 5.5% in the first quarter. Burney Co. now owns 16,412 shares of the payment services company’s stock valued at $1,298,000 after buying an additional 855 shares in the last quarter. 83.81% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of American Express Company (NYSE AXP) opened at 86.151 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $76.16 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.668 and a beta of 1.18. American Express Company has a 12 month low of $59.50 and a 12 month high of $86.28. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $83.91 and its 200 day moving average price is $79.79.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The payment services company reported $1.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.44 by $0.03. American Express had a net margin of 14.11% and a return on equity of 21.90%. The firm had revenue of $8.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.20 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $2.10 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that American Express Company will post $5.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

American Express declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, June 28th that allows the company to buyback $4.40 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the payment services company to purchase up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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Several brokerages have weighed in on AXP. BidaskClub cut American Express from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 1st. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $100.00 price target (up previously from $99.00) on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and set a $85.00 price target on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Guggenheim reissued a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price target (up previously from $90.00) on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $94.00 price target (up previously from $87.00) on shares of American Express in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. American Express has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $84.77.

In other news, insider Paul D. Fabara sold 5,981 shares of American Express stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.88, for a total transaction of $513,648.28. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Anre D. Williams sold 53,111 shares of American Express stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.24, for a total transaction of $4,527,181.64. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 79,614 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,786,297.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 948,287 shares of company stock valued at $80,321,961 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

About American Express

American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a global services company. The Company’s principal products and services are charge and credit card products, and travel-related services, which are offered to consumers and businesses around the world. Its segments include the U.S. Consumer Services (USCS), International Consumer and Network Services (ICNS), Global Commercial Services (GCS) and Global Merchant Services (GMS).

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for American Express (NYSE:AXP)

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