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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Amex buoyed by card spending rise
American Express card
American Express has increased its spend on advertising
American Express (Amex) has said increased spending by all three of its credit card customer groups is behind a 19% rise in first-quarter profits.

The US provider of credit card to travel services saw net profit of $946m (497m) from January to March, against $794m for the same period in 2004.

The results were in line with Wall Street expectations.

Spending rose across its personal, small business and corporate credit card users, Amex said.

Its first quarter revenues rose 10% to $7.6bn.

Competitive sector

During the period, Amex saw a 30% rise in expenses for marketing, promotion, rewards and card member services, which analysts said was indicative of the highly competitive credit card sector.

"The costs of marketing and promotions will keep going up," said David Robertson, publisher of Nilson Report, which tracks the credit card industry.

Amex added that it was on target to spin off its less profitable personal finance arm, American Express Financial Advisors, during the third quarter of this year.

The company's travel services division saw net profits rise by 20%.

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