American Express Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault says he has seen signs of stabilization in the economy, but there have not been any signs of improvement yet.
He adds, he is hopeful for a recovery by the second half of 2010, but that is not how he is planning the company's
"I think it is way too early to say that we're in an economic recovery," Chenault says, in an interview with CNBC. "I think what is important is that at least what we are seeing is some stabilization. If we think about where things were last fall with the credit markets seizing up, it was a frightening situation. So stability, I think is important, and I think that's been very helpful."
One sign he points to that "potentially could lead to some green shoots" is the stabilization in card billings that has occurred over the past few months. This measure remains down by a double-digit percentage rate from earlier periods, but has leveled off at that rate of decline. Chenault says he'll be encouraged when he starts to see an increase in card billings.
According to Chenault, the downturn in housing has sparked significant changes in consumer behavior that will be around for a while.