American Express profit sinks 76%

American Express set aside $2.6B for losses

American Express Co.’s first-quarter profit plunged 76 percent from a year ago after the credit-card giant set side $2.6 billion to provide a cushion for losses caused by COVID-19.

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The New York-based financial-services provider earned $367 million, or 41 cents a share, as revenue slipped 1 percent to $10.31 billion. Adjusted earnings were $1.98 a share, topping estimates of $1.48 from Wall Street.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AXPAMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY94.32+4.99+5.59%

“The first two months of 2020 continued the strong momentum we have delivered over the past two years, but we’re now in a different world,” American Express CEO Stephen Squeri said in a statement. “The deterioration in the economy due to COVID-19 impacts that began in the first quarter and accelerated in April has dramatically impacted our volumes.”

Shares were down 34 percent year-to-date through Thursday, lagging the S&P 500’s 13 percent decline.