Bear Stearns


reported fourth-quarter earnings per share that beat analysts' estimates, but said its net income fell 6% from the same period last year.

The New York investment bank earned $1.36 a share, compared with $1.32 a share last year, beating the four-analyst estimate of $1.11 a share on

First Call/Thomson Financial

. But net income for the quarter fell to $195.2 million from $207.5 million in the same period last year. The company had an average of 148.7 million diluted shares outstanding during the quarter, down from 164.2 million shares outstanding in the prior-year period.

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Net revenue for the quarter was $1.38 billion, a 7.5% increase from $1.28 billion a year earlier.

Lehman Brothers



reported earnings today that beat Wall Street's estimates.

Bear Stearns said its "record level of mergers and acquisitions activities offset the impact of a challenging investment banking environment." The company's shares lately gained $2.50, or 4.6%, to $56.44 in composite trading on the

New York Stock Exchange