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Why You Should Buy and Hold American Express Stock

Nicolas Chahine

Although this year the stock market sentiment is in a much better state, the banks still have their reputation that they cannot hold their rallies. But therein lies part of the opportunity in American Express (NYSE:AXP) stock today.

American Express Company (AXP)

Source: Marcus Quigmire Via Flickr

This round of bank earnings has so far gone much better than the last one. There is some chatter about a sustainable rally in their stocks. On Tuesday we even saw a flip from red to green in stocks like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM).

This hasn’t happened in a while, so perhaps the trend that banks can’t hold their greens is dying. If so then this will provide a lift to AXP stock as well.

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Moreover, transaction companies like AXP, Visa (NYSE:V), MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and Square (NYSE:SQ) rally in sympathy with money center banks. So if the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLF) rallies then so will the transactors like AXP.

In addition, AXP is an excellent financial stock that has proven over the years that they can manage through adversity. Case in point was the debacle over losing the Costco (NASDAQ:COST) account. The stock suffered for a while but has since set new all-time highs.

I was lucky to ride the last mega breakout in AXP from the December lows. American Express rallied over 25% so today I am trying to catch the next opportunity. Usually, I consider these technical opportunities tactical trades but this one doubles as a long term conviction investment. This is a stock I want to own for the long term.

The reaction this morning is slightly negative from the earnings. Management reported a boring quarter where they barely beat the bottom line and narrowly missed sales. The forward guidance was in line so they gave traders nothing to cheer. So AXP will move in line with the overall equity market for now.

So if this rally in stocks continues, then AXP stock has the opportunity to break out from $114.40 to target another $10 run from there. There will be resistance there but if the bulls can close above it then the bears will be tired so the stock will overshoot higher.

The macroeconomic condition still favors the bullish thesis. We do have threats from lingering headlines of tariff wars. But as we approach another round of elections means that those deals will happen so we go back to trading the profit and loss statements rather than headlines.

Most importantly, the threat from the Federal Reserve inverting the curve has disappeared. They have affirmed that they won’t cause the short term rates rise above the long term rates so this relives fears for banks. The steeper the curve the better are their profits.

For American Express stock, the short term price action from the earnings headline is meaningless for the long term. All global transactions will be electronic so the demand on their services will continue to increase. There are only but a few companies that serve this market and they are a global household name. So they are well set to continue to prosper for years.

Then there is the China market opportunity. The U.S. and China are nearing a deal where companies like AXP could have a new opportunity become available in the largest market on the planet.

The short term technical threat for AXP stock is at $108 per share. If the bears push price below it they could target $102 per share. This is not a forecast but it is a scenario that could unfold in the next few weeks. But even then, this won’t change the overall opportunity for the long term.

Nicolas Chahine is the managing director of SellSpreads.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him as @racernic on Twitter and Stocktwits.

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