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Oct 15, 5:37 PM EDT

American Express tops 3Q net income expectations

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NEW YORK (AP) -- American Express Co. said Wednesday that its net income climbed about 9 percent in the third quarter, as spending by cardholders increased.

Even so, the New York-based credit card issuer's revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Spending by U.S. holders of American Express cards grew 9 percent during the July-September period. Loan balances rose 5 percent.

Management noted that revenue continues to rise at a steady pace, but is growing below company's long-term target.

All told, American Express reported that net income rose to $1.47 billion, or 1.40 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with net income of $1.35 billion, or $1.25 per share, a year earlier.

The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.38 per share.

Revenue net of interest expense was $8.33 billion, up slightly from $8.3 billion a year earlier. That fell short of Wall Street's forecasts, which called for revenue of $8.37 billion, according to Zacks.

Shares in American Express ended regular trading down $1.81, or 2.2 percent, and declined another 45 cents to $80.48 in late trading.

The stock is down nearly 11 percent since the beginning of the year. By comparison, the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen nearly 1 percent.

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