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reported fourth-quarter earnings that were in line with analysts' expectations, on income that rose 17.2% from last year.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., bank earned $232.6 million, or 58 cents a share, excluding merger charges of $7.1 million, compared with $198.4 million, or 49 cents a share, in the same period last year. Twenty-three analysts polled by

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expected fourth-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share.

The company also said excluding charges, its annualized return on average assets for the fourth quarter rose to 1.63%, compared with last year's return of 1.50%.

Shares of BB&T were lately down 75 cents, or 2%, to $36.19 in trading on the Big Board.