American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) announced its earnings for the first quarter of 2012 today. The company reported earnings per share of $1.07on revenue of $7.6 billion for the period leading up to March. Analysts expected a report of $1.01 per share earnings and revenue of about $7.47 billion. Figures from the same quarter a year ago showed revenue of $7.57 billion and earnings of $0.97 per share.

The credit card industry is very reliant on consumer spending which marks a large portion of their total revenue. Spending has appeared to have held steady during the period and American Express benefit directly proportionally to that. A report on Monday indicated that retail spending had increased by 0.8% in the first quarter.

American Express’s recovery is almost entirely down to the recovery in the market. The company has faced some tough years after the 2008 financial crisis that wiped out spending and had indecent effects on the level of credit delinquency in the US. American Express has done much to cap this however. It reported the lowest rates of bad loans in the sector in the last quarter.As the economy picks up so too should American Expresses revenues though competition in the sector is also a factor.

In providing credit facilities to individuals and businesses around the globe American Express competes directly in the US with other large financial institutions such as Citibank Group, (NYSE:C) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). Both of those institutions reported earnings in the last week and both had their reports well received, though with some criticism.

The entire financial sector is performing well though revenues tend to be down in investment markets. Credit is certainly picking up across the board as consumers have more confidence in the direction of the economy and are willing to spend to improve it.

The market was mixed in anticipation of the earnings report. The company’s stock was moving between slightly up and slightly down today showing a market indecisive on the firm’s earnings report. The company’s stock has gained 23 percent in the first quarter of the year a large gain compared to the market as a whole. That is good news for the company whose stock fell from a high of around $65 in 2007 and has been recovering since. American Express opened the year at a price of 47.17.