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Record Quarter for Legg Mason

The investment-services company easily beats expectations as its businesses post strong results.
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Legg Mason

(LM) - Get Legg Mason, Inc. Report

delivered record fourth-quarter and full-year earnings, as assets under management soared by almost 50%.

The Baltimore-based investment-services company posted a profit of $91.9 million, or $1.21 a share, vs. $47.7 million, or 71 cents a share, a year ago, based on continuing operations. Revenue rose to $559.6 million from $376.4 million in the year-ago period.

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The results easily surpassed consensus estimates for all categories. According to Thomson First Call, analysts were expecting net income of $86.9 million, or $1.15 a share, on revenue of $528.8 million.

Assets under management totaled a record $286.4 billion at the end of 2003, up 49% from year-ago levels and 8% higher than at the end of the third quarter.

The company said all of its businesses had strong results in the quarter ended March 31. Investment advisory and related fees rose 68% to $366.9 million in the quarter. Commissions at its brokerage unit rose 24% to $90.2 million. Investment banking revenue jumped 73% to $45.2 million.

Legg Mason's strong performance follows similar results from major Wall Street firms, which have benefited from a broad-based recovery in business, from stock trading to investment banking.

Shares closed at $90.51 Tuesday.