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PaineWebber Group

( PWJ) far exceeded analysts' expectations Tuesday, announcing net income of $166.3 million, or $1.07 a diluted share, compared with $100.4 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, in the corresponding quarter last year.

For the year, PaineWebber, the fourth largest brokerage firm in the U.S., earned $628.6 million, or $3.95 a diluted share, compared with $433.6 million, or $2.72 a share, in 1998.

The New York-based firm had been expected to earn 92 cents a share, based on a survey of nine brokers polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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PaineWebber attributed the fourth-quarter increase to the overall boom in financial markets and the record appetite for stocks and other securities that has lifted the fortunes of nearly all Wall Street investment houses.

It reported a 26.8% increase in fourth-quarter revenue, including net interest, to $1.4 billion and to a 22.9% return on common equity, compared with 16.3% for the same period last year.

"Our 1999 results reflect strength across all business lines, including record results in commissions, asset management, investment banking and principal transactions," PaineWebber chairman and CEO Donald Marron said in a statement.

Net new assets rose 54% to $210 million per day in the fourth quarter, Marron added.

PaineWebber was up 1/8 to 38 1/16 in early trading Tuesday. (It closed down 3/8, or 0.99%, at 37 9/16.)