Profits Swell at Nasdaq

First-quarter revenue more than doubles.
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Nasdaq Stock Market


said its first-quarter earnings surged nearly 42% from a year ago thanks to recent acquisitions, improvements in its trading-market share and its efforts to operate more efficiently.

After the market closed Thursday, Nasdaq said it earned $18 million, or 16 cents a share, in the first quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for 11 cents. A year ago, the company made $12.7 million and 13 cents a share.

Nasdaq, which recently bought a stake in the London Stock Exchange, raised its forecast for 2006, saying it should earn $63 million to $73 million for the year, including charges associated with its cost-reduction program, the integration of INET and a loss from extinguishing debt.

The first quarter was the first full three-month period that Nasdaq has included INET's operations in its results.

"Our revised 2006 outlook calls for gross margin and net income growth of approximately 20% and 10%, respectively, from prior year and reflects our confidence in attaining our operating objectives," Chief Financial Officer David Warren said in a statement. "We are targeting 2006 expenses, excluding charges associated with our debt restructuring, to be in the range of $460.0 million to $470.0 million and remain on track to reduce expenses 20% to 25% in 2007."

Revenue for the first quarter more than doubled to $396.2 million from $180.2 million in the same period of 2005. Nasdaq's shares fell 3.5% to $42.24 in the regular session and lost another 0.8% after hours.