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EARNINGS ROUNDUP

AmEx Quarterly Profit Falls 17% on Spinoff

January 24, 2006|From Reuters

American Express Co. said Monday that quarterly profit fell 17%, but results still met expectations as strong spending by consumer, small-business and corporate cardholders more than offset a jump in bankruptcy-related losses.

The fourth-largest U.S. credit card issuer said it earned $745 million, or 59 cents a share, during the fourth quarter, down from $896 million, or 71 cents, a year ago.

The sharp drop in net income was a function of the spinoff of American Express' investment advisory unit late last year, which masked what was actually a solid performance.

Earnings from continuing operations -- which strip out contributions that the spun-off unit, Ameriprise Financial Inc., made to the bottom line last year -- rose 13% to 60 cents a share from 53 cents a year earlier. Revenue rose 9% to $6.4 billion, with the increase driven by a 13% rise in merchant fees and a 15% increase in cardholder spending.

American Express shares rose 4 cents to $51.44.

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