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Ameritrade Quarter on Target

The company liquidates its stake in Knight.
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(AMTD) - Get TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation Report

met Wall Street analyst estimates for its December quarter.

The Omaha, Neb., online broker made $86 million, or 21 cents a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from the year-ago $84 million, or 20 cents a share. Excluding unrealized losses on prepaid variable forward contracts on its investment in

Knight Capital Group

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, the latest-quarter profit was 22 cents a share, in line with the Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate. Revenue rose to $277 million from $262 million a year earlier.

Ameritrade said the latest quarter's operating margin was 64%, while average client trades per day hit 156,000. Pretax income was 51% of revenue.

"Ameritrade has again delivered strong results, illustrated by record net revenues and excellent pretax margins," said Joe Moglia, chief executive officer. "We would have had a record quarter if you adjusted the days to our last quarter and excluded the impact of Knight. Moving forward, we expect to continue leveraging our low-cost platform and producing superior financial returns for TD Ameritrade shareholders."

The company also said it liquidated its position in Knight and the prepaid variable forward contracts on Jan. 17-20, resulting in a one-time net gain of approximately $79 million that will be recorded in the quarter ending March 31, 2006.