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The Curious Case of the Resilience of American Express (AXP) Stock

Value Investor Insight is an investment newsletter created by money manager Whitney Tilson and John Heins. Value Investor Insight aims to deliver the highest-quality investment ideas, analysis, and insight to the just-starting-out investor and sophisticated investors. At the core of Value Investor Insight is the philosophy of the true value investor: buy something only for less than its intrinsic worth. In a recent edition of Value Investor Insight, Harris Associates’ Bill Nygren highlighted the top 5 stock picks for investors to buy right now, which could be the biggest winners of the stock market crash. You can download a copy of Value Investor Insight here.

In the said letter, Bill Nygren highlighted a few stocks and American Express Co (NYSE:AXP) is one of them. American Express is a financial services company. Year-to-date, American Express Co (NYSE:AXP) stock lost 23.4% and on June 23rd it had a closing price of $99.42. Here is what Bill Nygren said:

“With American Express, we believed the worst-case scenario was significantly better than all that. We think the company has done an excellent job in improving its cardholder value proposition in recent years by making significant investments in merchant acceptance, cardholder rewards and services, and small-business payment tools. Relative to entering the last financial crises, it has dramatically cut costs and strengthened its balance sheet structure.

The payments-network side of the business is now more competitive with Mastercard and Visa. Given all that, in the adverse Fed scenario, we would still expect American Express to earn $4 to $5 per share this year. Two years from now, we think it should be earning more than twice that. With the stock where it is today [at a recent $96], we believe that’s too cheap for this caliber of business.”

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In Q1 2020, the number of bullish hedge fund positions on American Express Co (NYSE:AXP) stock decreased by about 2% from the previous quarter (see the chart here), so a number of other hedge fund managers don’t seem to agree with AXP’s upside potential. Our calculations showed that American Express Co (NYSE:AXP) isn’t ranked among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

The top 10 stocks among hedge funds returned 185% since the end of 2014 and outperformed the S&P 500 Index ETFs by more than 109 percentage points. We know it sounds unbelievable. You have been dismissing our articles about top hedge fund stocks mostly because you were fed biased information by other media outlets about hedge funds’ poor performance. You could have doubled the size of your nest egg by investing in the top hedge fund stocks instead of dumb S&P 500 ETFs. Below you can watch our video about the top 5 hedge fund stocks right now. All of these stocks had positive returns in 2020.

Video: Top 5 Stocks Among Hedge Funds

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, 2020’s unprecedented market conditions provide us with the highest number of trading opportunities in a decade. So we are checking out stocks recommended/scorned by legendary Bill Miller. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. You can subscribe to our free enewsletter below to receive our stories in your inbox:

Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.

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