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American Express CEO: Analysts got it wrong, we had a 'good' quarter

American Express (AXP) CEO Stephen Squeri is defending his quarter after the card giant's bottom line fell short of analyst estimates.

"So the $2.40 is a good number — the $2.40 beat our plan," Squeri told Yahoo Finance moments after the results hit the wires on Thursday, referring to first-quarter profit on a per-share basis.

He added: "So there really isn't anything in the quarter for us that went really unexpected other than the mark to market, but that was offset by a onetime tax gain."

Squeri has more than a few call outs from the earnings release to back up his view.

AmEx saw first-quarter sales at its U.S. consumer services and commercial segments rise 25% and 15%, respectively. International sales rose 22%.

The credit-card giant reiterated its full-year sales growth outlook of 15% to 17%. Earnings are expected to be in the range of $11 to $11.40, also an affirmation.

Analysts are estimating $11.10 a share for the full year.

"The economy is definitely bifurcated, and I think at the lower end of the economy you are seeing some stress but we just don't have that," Squeri said, adding he is seeing strong demand for travel this spring and summer.

Amex shares fell 1.5% in pre-market trading.

The Earnings Rundown

  • Net Sales: $14.3 billion, + 22% year over year vs. $14.03 billion estimate

  • Loan Loss Provision: $1.05 billion vs. $890.2 million estimate

  • Diluted EPS: $2.40, -12% year over year vs. $2.65 estimate

What Else Caught Our Attention

  • 3.4 million new card members acquired.

  • 39% sales growth (excluding currency volatility) in travel and entertainment category for quarter.

  • 9% sales growth (excluding currency volatility) on goods and services worldwide.

  • 28.7% return on equity (ROE), down from 37.7% in the year-ago quarter.

From the C-Suite

"What will be interesting here is we had a too big to fail scenario [in 2008], you may now have a situation where you're too small to succeed," Squeri told Yahoo Finance. "Since SVB, we've had more inflows to us, which makes sense."

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR AMERICAN EXPRESS - The Amex Experience provides a Y2K-inspired photo emporium for Card Members at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on Friday, April 14, 2023 in Indio, Calif. (Dan Steinberg/AP Images for American Express)
The Amex Experience provides a Y2K-inspired photo emporium for Card Members at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on Friday, April 14, 2023 in Indio, Calif. (Dan Steinberg/AP Images for American Express) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations or anything else? Email brian.sozzi@yahoofinance.com

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