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AmEx profit beats as pandemic curbs ease, aiding spending recovery

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Oct 22 (Reuters) - American Express Co on Friday reported a higher profit that topped Wall Street estimates for the fourth straight quarter, underpinning a recovery in spending from consumers emboldened by an easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

After months of seeing a stagnation in spending, credit-card issuers like AmEx are starting to see a turnaround with resumption of social activities made possible by a rise in the number of fully-vaccinated people.

Net income came in at $1.83 billion, or $2.27 per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 70% from last year. Analysts were expecting a figure of $1.80 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

AmEx said the growth was driven by higher spending on goods and services (G&S) by consumers and small businesses.

Spending on travel and entertainment (T&E) also continued to rebound in the quarter, with restaurant spending growing above pre-pandemic levels as restrictions were eased and more people ventured out of their homes, the company said.

AmEx released $393 million of reserves in the quarter, reflecting an improved credit outlook overall.

Excluding interest expense, the New York-based company's total revenue rose 25% to around $10.93 billion. (Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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