Ameriprise, Waddell & Reed, and optionsXpress Post Results

Earnings solid for two, but optionsXpress disappoints

As earnings season marches on, a trio of financial services companies reported their quarterly results on Tuesday, April 27. Ameriprise Financial and Waddell & Reed Financial posted solid earnings, while optionsXpress Holdings disappointed with a small drop.

Ameriprise posted a first-quarter profit that met analysts' expectations, aided by earnings from its advice and wealth management unit and higher investment income. The asset manager and broker had profits attributable to the company of $214 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with a profit of $130 million, or 58 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Analysts had expected Ameriprise, based in Minneapolis, to earn 81 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Total net revenue rose 32% to $2.27 billion, and net investment income rose to $590 million from $418 million a year ago.

Advice and wealth management businesses posted a pretax profit of $51 million compared with a loss of $61 million last year.

Waddell & Reed doubled profits to $35.9 million, or 42 cents a share, compared to $15.5 million, or $0.18 a share, during the first quarter of 2009. In the fourth quarter of 2009, Waddell& Reed earned $33.3 million, or 39 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Waddell said that flows in the advisors channel jumped to $146 million during the quarter compared to outflows of $82 million during last year's first quarter and inflows of $86 million during the fourth quarter of 2009. At $886 million, gross sales were only slightly below the previous quarter's level of $920 million, and 27% above last year's comparable period.

Finally, optionsXpress, the online brokerage, reported a lower first-quarter profit that missed analysts estimates, hurt by higher expenses and lower volatility.

Earnings in the quarter fell to $11.9 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with $13.6 million, or 23 cents a share, in last year's first quarter. Net revenue at optionsXpress, based in Chicago, was up 16 percent at $57.0 million. Analysts expected a profit of 25 cents a share.

Profits were whittled down by expenses, which rose 36% to $38.2 million. And daily average revenue trades (DART) fell 5% to 44,600 during the quarter compared to last years' first quarter, but were up 5% from 42,600 for the fourth quarter of 2009.

Please read the full text of earnings reports from Ameriprise, Waddell & Reed, and optionsXpress.

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