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American Express Reveals First Dividend Hike Since '07

By Features FOXBusiness

Two weeks after passing the Federal Reserve’s stress tests, American Express (AXP) unveiled plans on Monday to hike its dividend by 11% and buy back 150 million shares of its own stock

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By returning more cash to shareholders, AmEx joins a slew of other large financial companies such as JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC).

Marking its first dividend increase since 2007, New York-based AmEx said it is boosting its quarterly dividend to 20 cents a share, up from 18 cents previously. The company continued to pay its dividend throughout the financial crisis.

AmEx said its board has also signed off on a new plan to repurchase 150 million shares, which will replace a 200 million share buyback that had 38 million shares remaining.

Shares of AmEx hit session highs on the news and were recently up 2.12% to $58.47. They hit an intraday high of $58.75, which represents a new 52-week high, and have soared more than 22% so far this year.

Earlier this month the Fed signed off on AmEx’s capital plans, which included proposals to buy back up to $4 billion of its stock this year and up to $1 billion in the first quarter of 2013.

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On the other hand, the central bank rejected a number of companies’ capital plans, including Citigroup (C).