Market Overview

Morgan Stanley Comments On American Express & Discover


Morgan Stanley issued research notes on American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) and Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) Wednesday and rated both companies Overweight.

Analysts led by Cheryl M. Pate commented that “Discover's “It” card [is] driving above-industry loan growth. Since its launch almost two years ago, Discover's “It” card has resonated with consumers, particularly in a younger demographic than DFS's typical customer set.

“New card accounts increased by 9 percent in 2013 and account growth is tracking even higher to-date in 2014, in the double digits. In turn, this has driven loan growth above the high end of management’s 2-5 percent guidance, where we expect it to remain in 2015 and 2016 (6.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively).”

Pate raised the price target on Discover from $72 to $76.

The firm is “Overweight Amex based on our expectation of accelerated US card spend, driven by 1) ramping consumer spending and 2) higher merchant penetration through OptBlue. AXP is highly leveraged to an improving economy, particularly to higher equity market valuations and higher housing prices given its more affluent customer base.”

“The US consumer is poised for the best year thus far in the recovery, and we are raising our US billed business forecasts by 126bps in 2015 and 150bps in 2016, to 12.1 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. We are also raising our EPS estimates by 12c to $6.12 for 2015 and by 18c to $6.84 for 2016,” according to the analyst note.

Pate maintained a $110 price target on American Express.

American Express closed Wednesday at $90.44, up 2.49 percent.

Discover closed at $62.42, up 3.31 percent.

Latest Ratings for AXP

Oct 2019MaintainsOverweight
Oct 2019MaintainsMarket Perform
Jul 2019MaintainsNeutral

View More Analyst Ratings for AXP
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Cheryl M. Pate Morgan StanleyAnalyst Color Price Target Reiteration Analyst Ratings


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