NEW DIRECTIONAL PUT PLAYS

American Express Company - AXP - close: 70.42 change: -0.78

Stop Loss: 72.35
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Average Daily Volume = 5.8 million
Entry on December -- at $---.--
Listed on December 03, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to January option expiration
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Trade Description:
Having one of the best known brands in the world is not enough if business turns south. AXP has been struggling, especially after the high-profile loss of its contract with Costco (COST). You may not remember but earlier this year COST and AXP failed to agree on terms to extend their relationship. COST was one of the few big merchants that only took AXP cards and not rival Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card.

AXP is in the financial sector. According to the company, "American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success." That doesn't tell us much. The company operates through four segments: U.S. Card Services, International Card Services, Global Commercial Services, and Global Network & Merchant Services. The company claims $159 billion in total assets and over 112 million card customers. Their annual revenues are just over $34 billion with net income of $5.89 billion.

The revenue picture for AXP has been tough. The company has missed Wall Street's revenue estimate the last three quarters in a row. AXP's most recent earnings report was October 21st. They delivered their Q3 earnings of $1.24 a share. That missed estimates by seven cents. Revenues were down -1.3% to $8.19 billion, below analysts' estimates at $8.31 billion. AXP management then lowered their 2015 guidance below Wall Street expectations.

Barclays believes that AXP will continue to suffer from strong dollar headwinds in 2016. A Stifel's analyst believes that the impact of the Costco breakup has not been felt yet. Their exclusivity deal doesn't end until March 31, 2016. The impact may not be priced into AXP stock yet. UBS is also bearish and downgraded AXP to a sell in October. AXP has been forecasting +12-15% EPS growth but UBS is estimating AXP growth at +8%.

Technically the stock is in a bear market. AXP is down -25% from its early January 2015 highs. Shares have a bearish trend of lower highs and lower lows. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $63.00 target. Today AXP dipped toward round-number support at $70.00. A breakdown below this level could be an entry point. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy puts at $69.75.

Trigger @ $69.75

- Suggested Positions -

Buy the JAN $70 PUT (AXP160115P70) current ask $1.86
option price is a current quote and not a suggested entry price.

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

Daily Chart:

Weekly Chart: