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July 15, 2020, 8:59 a.m. EDT

American Express downgraded at J.P. Morgan, as outlook on consumer finance deteriorates

J.P. Morgan analyst Richard Shane turned bearish on American Express Co. (NYS:AXP) , as he believes the credit card and travel-services company will be weighed down the deterioration in the outlook for consumer finance. Shane cut his rating to underweight from neutral, while trimming his stock price target to $97 from $100. Shane said he previously focused on the severity of job losses in gauging the outlook for consumer finance, and the losses appear to be better than feared. Shane said, however, that the outlook may be more about the duration of the downturn, as the "passage of time" acts as a multiplier that compounds the downturn. "With [COVID-19] case rates still spiking in the three most populous states, it appears the pandemic impact on spending and credit is now likely to extend deeper into 2021," Shane wrote in a note to clients. For American Express, he said high-income consumers are likely to reduce discretionary spending and leisure travel spending, and corporate travel and expense are likely to remain pressured into the first half of 2021. Shane also downgraded Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYS:SC) to underweight and SLM Corp. (NAS:SLM) and Synchrony Financial (NYS:SYF) to neutral, while upgrading Ally Financial Inc. (NYS:ALLY) and NMI Holdings Inc. (NAS:NMIH) to overweight. AmEx's stock, which rose 1.5% in premarket trading, has lost 23.8% year to date through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA) has slipped 6.6%.

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