April 18, 2018 / 8:29 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-AmEx profit tops estimates on customer spending surge

(Adds details on customer spending, compares with analysts' estimates)

April 18 (Reuters) - Credit card issuer American Express Co's quarterly profit topped Wall Street forecasts as a strengthening U.S. economy contributed to higher customer spending.

Shares of New York-based AmEx rose 3 percent in after-market trading on Wednesday.

AmEx said card member spending rose 3 percent in the United States and 7 percent worldwide in the first three months of 2018.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose in January and February.

AmEx said net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $1.63 billion or $1.86 per share in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.25 billion or $1.35 per share a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.71 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue, net of interest expense, climbed 12 percent to $9.72 billion, topping analysts' expectations of $9.46 billion. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba and Pallavi Dewan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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