Nasdaq profit soars; downplays impact of Nyse/ArcaEx merger

Nasdaq profit soars; downplays impact of Nyse/ArcaEx merger

Nasdaq chiefs have played down the impact of the proposed merger between the New York Stock Exchange and electronic trading network Archipelago, as the US' second-biggest stockmarket reassures investors with a strong first quarter.

Nasdaq net income for the quarter rose to $12.7 million, from $4.6 million in the comparable year-ago period, confortably besting Wall Street expectations, despite the inclusion of $7.5 million in cost-cutting charges.

Revenue for the period totalled $180.2 million, a sharp 40 percent increase from $128.4 million a year earlier. Market services revenue grew by 64% to $125.1 million, while issuer services rose by five per cent to $54.9 million.

The upturn in trading prompted the Nasdaq to revise upwards its projected 2005 earnings, estimating income of $38 million to $44 million for the year in progress.

In a conference call, Nasdaq chief Bob Greifeld offered no further updates on the market's supposed $1.8 billion acquisition of Instinet. Speculation about the transaction has been largely overshadowed this week by the surprise merger announcement of rival Nyse and ArcaEx.

Greifeld sought to downplay the impact of the union on Nasdaq's operations, insisting that it would drive further business off-floor, to the advantage of all-electronic markets such as Nasdaq.

Shares in the market moved up nearly 10% in early morning trading from $10.65 at close of business Thursday to $11.66.

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