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AmEx dips over credit fees fears

American Express fell the most in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after Stifel Nicolaus & Co. said proposed federal caps on debit-card fees may be followed by similar cuts for credit cards.

American Express fell the most in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after Stifel Nicolaus & Co. said proposed federal caps on debit-card fees may be followed by similar cuts for credit cards. The shares dropped $1.93 — or 4.4 percent — the most in more than two months in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

The Federal Reserve last week proposed cutting the “swipe” fees that merchants pay to accept debit cards by up to 84 percent. That will give merchants more incentive to steer consumers away from AmEx’s higher-cost credit and charge cards, said Chris Brendler, a Stifel analyst, in a note to clients today. He changed his recommendation for the stock to “hold” from “buy.”

American Express, the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, is fighting a federal antitrust lawsuit that claims the company’s contracts unfairly prohibit retailers from steering customers to cheaper card brands.

 
 
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