Profit surges at American Express with US spending resilient

NEW YORK — American Express had a very strong third quarter, posting a profit of $1.78 billion with Americans continuing to prove resilient in their spending despite the tenacity of the delta variant, as well as global supply chain issues.

The New York company today topped last year’s profit of $1.1 billion profit during the same period, putting up per-share earnings of $2.27. That was 49 cents better than Wall Street had been expecting, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

It has been feared that the prevalence of COVID-19 in some regions of the country, particularly the highly contagious delta variant, would chill consumer spending in the U.S., which accounts for about 70% of all economic activity. Supply chains have become snarled as well, threatening to frustrate those who want to start spending again as the holiday shopping season grows nearer.

That has not been the case, however. Last week, the U.S. reported that retail sales surged 0.7% in September, far stronger than economists had expected.

The credit card issuer and global payments company posted revenue of $10.93 billion, also beating the projections of analysts.

“Revenues jumped 25% from a year ago and Card Member spending accelerated from the previous quarter, reaching record highs for the third quarter,” said Chairman and CEO Stephen Squeri. “The growth was powered by consumer and small business spending on goods and services, which grew 19%

Shares of American Express Co., up 47% this year, are up slightly before the opening bell.