Although Bloomberg spun an entirely different web on AmEx performance, I'll just attribute that to Ken and Michael being buddies. Easily confirmed by visiting to muckey.com and looking up the relationship! (CNN Money also reported identically to Yahoo.)
American Express is notorious for changing metrics. In this event, they were required by the Federal Reserve to add a few columns, but it allowed the PR staff to minimize their overall losses and declines in cardmember spending. Facts: International is down and not looking up; billionaires are now visiting homeless shelters (Thanks, Madoff); AmEx admitted they had $13B yet still accepted the TARP money; AXP didn't do the shareholder any favors.
Lesson here? People that can afford to pay their balances are cutting up the plastic, flying coach and leaving the high-end retailers in overstock lurches.
We'll see how this albatross flies next quarter.