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American Express posts 11 per cent rise in 4Q profit as card member spending increases

NEW YORK, N.Y. – American Express reported an 11 per cent rise in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, as consumers spent more with the company’s namesake credit cards. However, it also said it plans to cut thousands of jobs this year.

American Express said Wednesday it earned $1.45 billion, or $1.39 per share. That compares with a profit of $1.31 billion, or $1.21 a share, in the same period a year ago.

It said it saw a 6 per cent rise in card spending compared to a year ago. The company’s profits were also helped by a one-time $453 million after-tax gain from the sale of its stake in Concur Technologies, a travel and business expense site.

Revenue net of interest expense was $9.11 billion, compared with $8.55 billion a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected American Express to earn $1.38 a share on $8.52 billion in revenue.

For the full year, American Express earned $5.89 billion, or $5.56 per share, up from $5.36 billion, or $4.88 per share, a year ago.

American Express also announced it was taking a one-time $313 million restructuring charge. A company representative said the charge is tied to company plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, or about 6 per cent of American Express’ workforce.

Shares of American Express fell $1.77, or 2 per cent, to $85.90 in after-market trading following the release of the earnings report.