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Profit Climbs at Marsh & McLennan

The company's insurance and consulting units offset problems at Putnam.

Second-quarter profit rose at Marsh & McLennan (MMC) - Get Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Report as the company's insurance and consulting units drove results.

Citing an "especially active" quarter, Marsh said earnings rose to $389 million, or 75 cents a share, from $365 million, or 68 cents a share, in the same period last year.

The New York-based company said revenue rose 6% to $3 billion from $2.9 billion in the prior year. Risk and insurance revenue rose 8% to $1.8 billion, while revenue at the company's Mercer consulting unit rose 12%.

However, revenue at the company's Putnam Investments unit fell 10%.

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Still, "strength in Marsh and Mercer more than offset weakness at Putnam," said Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey W. Greenberg. "Marsh showed earnings growth in a softening insurance pricing environment based on its breadth of services, geographies and client segments and because of expense control. Mercer earned over $100 million for the first time in its history and grew earnings at the highest rate since 2000."

Analysts had forecast earnings of 72 cents a share on revenue of $3.05 billion.

"Putnam's business is not where we want it to be," Greenberg added. "However, we see some signs that are encouraging. Redemptions occurred at a decreasing rate. Investment performance is improving with competitive results across all fixed income products, in selected equity mutual funds, and in several institutional classes such as structured products."

Shares of Marsh & McLennan were recently up 14 cents to $43.74.