Brokerage and securities giant Merrill Lynch ( MER) earned $475 million, or 44 cents a share, in the first quarter, down from $1.21 billion, or $1.21 a share, in the same period a year ago. The latest quarter includes a charge of $1.2 billion. Analysts, who had accounted for the charge, were forecasting earnings of 32 cents a share in the quarter. Excluding the charge, Merrill earned $1.7 billion, or $1.65 a share. Total revenue jumped 28% from last year to $7.96 billion, beating estimates of $7.33 billion. Merrill's shares were down 7 cents to $78.39. Fifth Third ( FITB) earned $363 million, 65 cents a share, in the first quarter, down from $405 million, or 72 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were looking for 64 cents. Revenue fell 2.2% to $1.34 billion, just short of the Wall Street estimate of $1.35 billion. Shares of Fifth Third were up 66 cents, or 1.7%, to $39.98. Wells Fargo ( WFC) had first-quarter earnings of $2 billion, or $1.19 a share, up from $1.86 billion, or $1.08 a share, last year. Revenue climbed 6% to $8.56 billion. The bank said its first-quarter profit was cut by 2 cents a share for the cost of expensing stock options. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.20 a share and revenue of $8.62 billion. Wells Fargo was losing 9 cents, or 0.1%, at $64.37. Asset manager Mellon Financial ( MEL) earned $202 million, or 49 cents a share, from continuing operations in the first three months of the year. Last year, the company earned $305 million, or 73 cents a share, in the same period. The most recent quarter's profit from continuing operation included 3 cents a share in expenses tied to payments and benefits to former CEO Martin McGuinn. Excluding those costs, Mellon earned 52 cents a share, 3 cents ahead of the analyst consensus estimate.