American Express Profit, Revenue Top Expectations with wires

American Expressreported a profit and revenue that exceeded analysts' expectations on Thursday, sending the company's shares higher in after-hours trading.

The credit card company said it earned 73 cents a share in the first quarter, excluding one-time items, on $6.61 billion in sales.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected AmEx to report a profit of 63 cents a share on revenue of $6.34 billion. One year ago, the company earned 32 cents a share on $5.93 billion in sales.

American Express shares rose nearly 2 percent in extended trading on the New York Stock Exchange, after ending the session 78 cents higher at $46.77 . Get after-hour quotes for American Express.

Cardholder spending rose 16 percent, the company said.

Last week, American Express continued to exhibit some of the most improving credit trends when it reported that delinquencies decreased from 3.6 percent over the previous two months to 3.3 percent in March.

Its charge-offs increased slightly, from 7.4 percent in February to 7.5 percent in March, but remained among the lowest in the sector.

Wire services contributed to this report