Reuters

(Reuters)

American Express to Offer Insight on Spending Trends

By Features Dow Jones Newswires

American Express Co. (AXP) is expected to report fourth-quarter results on Wednesday after the market closes. Here's what you need to know:

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EARNINGS FORECAST:Earnings of $1.38 a share is the consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, compared with $1.21 a share a year earlier. The company hasn't provided guidance for the fourth quarter.

REVENUE FORECAST:Revenue of $8.53 billion is forecast, down from $8.55 billion a year earlier.

--CONSUMER SPENDING TRENDS:The credit-card issuer and network provides key information about consumer credit performance and spending trends from the latest quarter, which will include the holiday shopping season. The company also usually gives some early indications of spending trends that is seeing so far in the current quarter.

--JOINING FORCES:The company is revving up partnerships with merchants, from Apple Inc. to McDonalds Corp. to Uber in an effort to promote mobile payments and its rewards programs. It also has launched a program to gain acceptance among small merchants that don't now take its cards. "I think the digital transformation that we're bringing about in our core businesses and the relationships that we're forming to drive incremental business for merchants is going to be very helpful for us," CEO Kenneth Chenault said at a conference last month.

--REVENUE LEVELS FOLLOWING RECENT SHORTFALLS:AmEx has been falling short of its longtime revenue-growth target of 8%, but the company has been able to meet earnings expectations, in part by controlling expenses. Investors will be looking for guidance about revenue expectations in 2015.