American Express Reports Strong Q4 Profit

Credit-card giant American Express Co. (AXP) Monday said its earnings fell in the most recent quarter, but the sharp drop masked what was actually a strong performance by the fourth-largest U.S. credit-card issuer.

American Express reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $745 million, or 59 cents a share, compared with $896 million, or 71 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Last year's results were boosted by the contributions made by American Express Financial Advisors, the company -- now known as Ameriprise Financial Inc. (AMP) -- that American Express spun off in late September.

The results were in line with expectations. Analysts, on average, expected American Express to report a profit of 59 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.