American Express Company Valuation – October 2015 Update $AXP

Benjamin Graham taught that Intelligent Investors must do a thorough fundamental analysis of investment opportunities to determine their intrinsic value and inherent risk.  This is best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another company or by reviewing the 10 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – September 2015.  By using the ModernGraham method one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries.  What follows is a stock analysis showing a specific look at how American Express Company (AXP) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): American Express Company is a global services company. The Company’s principal products and services are charge and credit payment card products, and travel-related services offered to consumers and businesses around the world. The Company’s segments include U.S. Card Services, International Card Services, Global Commercial Services and Global Network & Merchant Services. The Company’s United States banking subsidiaries, Centurion Bank and AEBFSB, issue a range of Card products and services. It also issues its charge and credit Cards around the world either on its own or as cobrands with partnering institutions. The Company provides expense management and travel services to companies and organizations through its Global Corporate Payments and Global Business Travel businesses. The Global Network & Merchant Services (GNMS) segment operates a global payments network that processes and settles card transactions.


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Premium members can view a full ModernGraham valuation of the company and have access to download a PDF version of the valuation for easy reference. Here is a free sample valuation pdf, and here is a post detailing what can be found within each individual company’s valuation.


Downloadable PDF version of this valuation:

ModernGraham Valuation of AXP – October 2015

Stage 1: Is this company suitable for the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor?

What kind of Intelligent Investor are you?

Defensive Investor; must pass all 6 of the following tests.
1. Adequate Size of the Enterprise Market Cap > $2Bil $74,545,539,996 Pass
2. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 10 years prior Pass
3. Dividend Record Dividend Payments for 10 years prior Pass
4. Earnings Growth Increase of 33% in EPS in past 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end 65.97% Pass
5. Moderate PEmg Ratio PEmg < 20 16.29 Pass
6. Moderate Price to Assets PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50 3.55 Fail
Enterprising Investor; must pass all 3 of the following tests, or be suitable for the Defensive Investor.
1. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 5 years prior Pass
2. Dividend Record Currently Pays Dividend Pass
3. Earnings Growth EPSmg greater than 5 years ago Pass

Stage 2: Determination of Intrinsic Value

AXP value Chart October 2015

EPSmg $4.57
MG Growth Estimate 7.05%
MG Value $103.25
Opinion Undervalued
MG Value based on 3% Growth $66.25
MG Value based on 0% Growth $38.83
Market Implied Growth Rate 3.89%
Current Price $74.41
% of Intrinsic Value 72.07%

American Express Company qualifies for the Enterprising Investor but not the more conservative Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned with the high PB ratio.  The Enterprising Investor has no initial concerns.  As a result, all Enterprising Investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel comfortable proceeding with further research into the company.

As for a valuation, the company appears to be undervalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $3.11 in 2011 to an estimated $4.57 for 2015.  This level of demonstrated earnings growth outpaces the market’s implied estimate of 3.89% annual earnings growth over the next 7-10 years.  As a result, the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, returns an estimate of intrinsic value above the price.

The next part of the analysis is up to individual investors, and requires discussion of the company’s prospects.  What do you think?  What value would you put on American Express Company (AXP)?  Where do you see the company going in the future?  Is there a company you like better?  Leave a comment on our Facebook page or mention @ModernGraham on Twitter to discuss.

Stage 3: Information for Further Research

AXP Charts October 2015

Graham Number $43.17
PEmg 16.29
PB Ratio 3.55
Dividend Yield 1.79%
Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth 2



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Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures

Long-Term Debt $49,000,000,000
Total Assets $154,000,000,000
Intangible Assets $0
Total Liabilities $133,000,000,000
Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average) 1,002,000,000

Earnings Per Share History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate $3.95
Dec14 $5.56
Dec13 $4.88
Dec12 $3.89
Dec11 $4.12
Dec10 $3.35
Dec09 $1.54
Dec08 $2.32
Dec07 $3.36
Dec06 $2.99
Dec05 $2.97
Dec04 $2.68
Dec03 $2.30
Dec02 $2.01
Dec01 $0.98
Dec00 $2.07
Dec99 $1.81
Dec98 $1.54
Dec97 $1.38
Dec96 $1.30
Dec95 $1.04

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate $4.57
Dec14 $4.71
Dec13 $4.04
Dec12 $3.43
Dec11 $3.11
Dec10 $2.64
Dec09 $2.40
Dec08 $2.84
Dec07 $3.02
Dec06 $2.77
Dec05 $2.50
Dec04 $2.18
Dec03 $1.90
Dec02 $1.69
Dec01 $1.54
Dec00 $1.75
Dec99 $1.53

Recommended Reading:

Other ModernGraham posts about the company

The Best Stocks of the Financial Services Industry – September 2015
The 8 Best Stocks For Value Investors This Week – 8/8/15
5 Undervalued Dow Stocks to Research – August 2015
American Express Company Analysis – August 2015 Update $AXP
5 Undervalued Companies for Enterprising Investors Near 52 Week Lows – July 2015

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The author did not hold a position in any company mentioned in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours.  See my current holdings here.  This article is not investment advice; any reader should speak to a registered investment adviser prior to making any investment decisions.  ModernGraham is not affiliated with the company in any manner.  Please be sure to review our detailed disclaimer.






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