A.G. Edwards' ( AGE) profit rose 58% in the fourth quarter, helped by higher fees from its asset management business. The company earned $79.5 million, or $1.04 a share, in the quarter ended Feb. 28, compared to $50.4 million, or 65 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for items, earnings were 95 cents a share in the most recent quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 76 cents a share. Fourth-quarter net revenue rose 7.4% from a year ago to $741 million, topping analysts' expectations of $704 million. "For the fourth consecutive year we lowered our communication and technology expenses," the company said. "In addition, the successful conversion of our securities-processing operations to an application service provider and the completion of several technology projects under our Gateway Initiative should lead to a more efficient technology infrastructure." Revenue from commissions fell 1.3% to $274 million. Revenue from asset management and service fees rose 16% to $285 million. Shares of A.G. Edwards rose $2.03 to $48.16 Thursday.