LOS ANGELES (AP) — American Express Co.'s latest quarterly report may give investors insight on how consumers' spending and debt-management trends are faring heading into the December holiday shopping season. The credit card company is expected to report improved earnings and revenue for the third quarter after the stock markets close on Wednesday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: How cardholders' spending and payment trends fared during the quarter, as well as an update on the company's plans to form a joint venture to operate its global business travel division.
American Express cardholders tend to be more affluent than other credit card users, which is one reason the company has done well as the nation's economy has gradually improved since the recession.
The U.S. economy improved steadily, if sluggishly this year in advance of the partial government shutdown.
Between January and August, the most recent figures available, the economy added an average of 180,250 jobs a month. Unemployment, meanwhile, was 7.3 percent in August, down from 7.9 percent in January.
The gradually improving job picture could help boost consumer spending during the coming holiday season — traditionally good news for card issuers.
Unlike Visa and MasterCard, which only process transactions, American Express issues its own cards. When cardholders charge more on their Amex cards, the company earns even more in interest income and a variety of fees.
American Express saw cardholder spending grow 7 percent in the second quarter. That helped lift the card issuer's earnings 5 percent for the quarter.
Investors also will be listening Wednesday for an update on American Express' proposed joint venture with an investor group led by Certares International Bank.
Outpatient ROBOTIC HYSTERECTOMY. Trust an experienced Robotic Surgeon.