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Wachovia (WB) said first-quarter operating earnings excluding certain items fell to $1.22 a share from $1.30 a share a year earlier. But the bank's earnings topped the $1.18 a share analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting.

Revenue rose about 3% to $1.13 billion from $1.09 billion.

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wachovia, which earlier this week

agreed to be acquired by

First Union


, also said its allowance for loan losses equaled 1.5% of outstanding loans at the quarter's end, even with the fourth quarter's end and up from 1.17% a year earlier. Nonperforming loans, or those that are past due but haven't been charged off yet, fell $90 million from Dec. 31, to $410 million. Net loan losses reached $118.7 million in the first quarter, above the $73.3 million reported a year ago and the $94.4 million in the fourth quarter.