American Express ( AXP -0.53% ) shareholders trounced a surging market in November as their stock gained 30% compared to the 11% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The rally pushed the financial services giant to nearly positive territory for the year, but the stock remains a bit behind the market through late 2020.
November's stock market rally was driven by positive vaccine news that implied an approaching end to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, American Express joined its financial sector peers in posting surging gains that erased some of their year-to-date losses.
The prospect for an improving economy in 2021 is encouraging because that rebound would mean sharply stronger operating results that reflect more spending activity by consumers. American Express in late October revealed that revenue is down 29% through the first three quarters of the year, and earnings have declined 86%.
Major variables remain that will impact the financial services industry, including the vaccine deployment timeline and the arrival of any additional federal stimulus. As a result, investors should brace for more volatility in American Express stock over the next several quarters while those questions are resolved.