As 2011 comes to a close, it's a great time to look back at what happened to the stocks that interest you. By making sure you know the important things that a company accomplished -- as well as the setbacks it experienced -- you can make a better decision about whether it's a smart investment for your portfolio.
Today, let's take a look at American Express
Stats on American Express
|Year-to-Date Stock Return||12.4%|
|Market Cap||$55.2 billion|
|1-Year Revenue Growth||19.3%|
|1-Year Profit Growth||29.5%|
Source: S&P Capital IQ.
Why's American Express up this year?
American Express is more than just its signature card business. The company also has a banking arm that has joined peers like Discover Financial
But cards are where the money is, and so AmEx has been doing its best to make up for lost time. Unlike Visa and MasterCard, AmEx has never had exposure to the debit-card market, which has provided strong growth to its rivals. Yet with Congress going after high debit-card transaction fees that card-issuing banks like Bank of America
New initiatives, though, look poised to take advantage of new trends. Earlier this year, the company said it would offer a prepaid card that will tap into the same market as debit-card users. What sets it apart from rival prepaid providers Green Dot and NetSpend
In addition, AmEx is working to roll out a prepaid electronic wallet, allowing customers to use smartphones to make payments. It has plenty of competition, but just making the move shows that AmEx isn't letting the financial world pass it by. That's a big part of why AmEx did well in 2011 and why it could keep building on its success in years to come.
AmEx isn't the only company that is tapping into a world beyond credit cards. Take a look at this free video to discover why your credit card may soon be absolutely worthless -- and which stocks could benefit from the trend. Click here to see it while it lasts.
Click here to add American Express to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, and Mastercard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Visa and writing a covered strangle position in American Express. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.