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Instinet Narrows Its Loss

The company, which went public in early 2001, hasn't recorded a profitable quarter in the past 18 months.

The red ink continues to spill at

Instinet

(INET)

, as the electronic trading firm posted another net loss in the second quarter.

In the quarter, Instinet lost $5 million, or 2 cents a share, compared to a loss of $60 million, or 24 cents, a year ago.

The company, which went public in early 2001, hasn't recorded a profitable quarter in the past 18 months, as it has had to deal with increased competition and a soft market for stock trading.

On an operating basis, which excludes charges related to job cuts, Instinet lost $1.5 million, or about 0 cents a share. The operating loss matched the Thomson First Call consensus estimate.

But in a glimmer of good news for the granddaddy of electronic trading networks, total revenue rose 6% from year ago to $285 million. The revenue gains were fueled by the recent revival in the stock market, which has led to higher trading volume at Instinet.

Instinet processes roughly 28% of the trading activity in Nasdaq stocks and remains one of the dominant electronic trading platforms. But in recent years, Instinet has seen other exchanges and electronic platforms encroaching on its turf. In particular,

TheStreet Recommends

Archipelago

and the

Cincinnati Stock Exchange

, both based in Chicago, are gaining ground on Instinet as they steal away some of Nasdaq's business.

In fact, the losses this quarter at Instinet would have been even steeper if not for all the staff cuts the past year. Salary and compensation in the quarter declined 14% from a year ago to $60.7 million.

In addition to losing money, Instinet has lost a number of high-profile executives the past few months. In June, Will Sterling, who had been president of its Island ECN subsidiary, a trading platform Instinet acquired last year, left to join

UBS

. Earlier, Mark Nienstedt resigned as president after just a few months on the job.

Shares of Instinet, which released its earnings after the close, ended Monday at $5.21, down 4 cents. The stock has lost roughly 70% of its value since its initial public offering.