American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) is due to release earnings for the third quarter of 2013 on Wednesday October 6 after the market closes. The company is the first of the credit card providers to release earnings. That means the numbers will be watched to measure the growth of consumer spending in the United States in the period.

American Express

Analysts following American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) are looking for earnings of $1.22 per share for the three month period. Revenue is expected to come in at $8.2 billion. In the quarter ending September 30 2012 American Express earned $1.09 per share on revenue of $7.9 billion.

American Express business

American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) operates differently from its major competitors Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA). The company issues its own cards rather than processing the payments made on cards operated by other institutions. Customers of the company tend to be more affluent as a result, and American Express results often pick up before those of the company’s competitors.

One of the biggest moves being made at American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) at the moment is the company’s proposed joint venture with Certares International Bank and other investors. American Express would sell half of its business travel segment under the terms of the deal and form a joint venture which would be managed independently.

American Express performance

With the growth in the consumer economy during 2013 and the boom in the stock market, American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) shares have done very well through the year so far. Since January 1 the company’s stock has increased by more than 32%.

American Express shares rose above pre-crisis levels for the first time in 2013. The growth in spending in the United States has benefited the company, but there are some negative indicators for the second half of 2013. the US government shutdown may negatively effect earnings in the fourth quarter, depending on how long the deadlock in Washington lasts.

American express will host an earnings conference cal to discuss its results at 5 PM EST on Wednesday October 16. Investors will be looking for updates on the firm’s joint venture and guidance on how the company expects the fourth quarter to go.