NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) – American Express Co (AXP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)
posted a 31 percent increase in second quarter profits, beating
analysts’ expectations, as customers spent more on their cards
and the company’s processing revenue jumped.
Average spending on the company’s cards for the quarter
rose 15 percent to $3,767 from the same period a year ago and
the number of outstanding American Express cards rose 6 percent
to 94 million.
A Citigroup presentation on Thursday featured sterling examples of what information designer Edward Tufte calls “chartjunk”: charts that distract from or even conceal the data they are trying to illuminate.
Look at page 6 of the PDF, which is marked 5 on the page of the presentation itself: the bank’s assets have declined by what appears from the chart to be a dramatic amount. The 2007 bar is about 3 centimeters long, while the 2008 bar is roughly 1.8 centimeters long. That’s a 40 percent drop.