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Tuesday, 23 January, 2001, 18:23 GMT
Merrill Lynch reports trading boom
Merrill Lynch headquarters in the city
Merrill Lynch has retained its leading position in the global debt markets
US investment bank Merrill Lynch smashed through profit expectations to reap record fourth quarter results.

Earnings in the last three months of the year rose to $877m (597m), 11% higher than the $793m that it earned in the previous year.

The bank's results stand in contrast to those forecast for its rivals, which are expected to have been hit by the slowdown in US capital markets.

It was the trading arm of Merrill Lynch which performed well enough to offset shrinking profits from the banking sector.

Diversifying

"The strength of our fourth-quarter performance, in the midst of challenging markets, underscores the breadth of our global franchise and the benefit of expanding fee-based revenues," said David Komansky, head of the Merrill Lynch.

Principal transaction revenues - or money generated through derivative or bond trading - increased by 36% to $1.2bn compared to the same period the previous year.

And revenues from advising companies on mergers rose 6% to a quarterly record of $435m during the three months.

But a lack of private investors, deterred by the slump of the US stock markets, led to sharply lower income from brokerage commission.

As well as Merrill Lynch's expansions in the trading sector, it has also retained its position as the leading underwriter of debt and equity securities in both the US and global markets, observers believe.

The firm achieved market shares of 14.8% and 12.5% respectively, Thomson Financial Securities Data said.

The strong results caused Merrill Lynch shares to jump $2.5 to $77.7 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday

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18 Apr 00 | Business
Bank giants create online broker
01 Jun 99 | Your Money
Merrill Lynch moves online
17 Apr 00 | Business
Schwab, Merrill post records
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