American Express, Morgan Stanley Have Higher Profits

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NEW YORK (AP) - American Express Co. said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit edged up 1.7 percent from a year earlier on a revenue gain of 22 percent.

Morgan Stanley Group Inc., meanwhile, reported a 73 percent jump in fourth-quarter earnings on a 41 percent increase in revenue.

American Express, the financial and travel-services concern, said its profit increase was limited by a comparison to year-earlier results that included a special gain, and by higher corporate expenses.

In the latest quarter net income rose to $277.2 million, or $1.25 a share, from $272.6 million, or $1.19 a share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed to $4.08 billion from $3.35 billion.

American Express said its travel-services group - which oversees its charge-card operation - posted a 16 percent profit gain in the latest quarter, to $142.5 million. The company's IDS Financial Services unit reported a 23 percent income gain to $26 million.

Fourth-quarter profit at Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc., American Express' investment banking and securities brokerage unit, rose 27 percent to $100.6 million.

All of Shearson's major lines ``showed strong results'' in the quarter, particularly investment banking, where revenue climbed 53 percent, American Express said. …