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.
Revenue slipped to $1.27 billion from $1.3 billion a year earlier. The Thomson First Call estimate was $1.22 billion. Shares of Mellon rose $1.62, or 4.6%, to $37.12. Investment bank Jefferies ( JEF) had quarterly earnings of $58.4 million, or 82 cents a share, compared with $36.7 million, or 56 cents a share, last year. Revenue surged 52% to $524 million. Analysts were calling for earnings of 64 cents a share. Jefferies also plans a 2-for-1 stock split and said it would increase its quarterly dividend by 67%. The dividend, after the split, will be raised to 12.5 cents from the current 7.5 cents a share. Jefferies was higher by $3.25, or 5.2%, to $65.78. KeyCorp ( KEY), a financial services firm, had first-quarter net income of $289 million, or 70 cents a share. That topped Wall Street's forecast by a penny. A year ago, the company earned $264 million and 64 cents a share. The company also said it expects earnings to be in the range of 69 cents to 73 cents a share for the second quarter and $2.80 to $2.90 a share for the full year. On average, analysts are looking for 71 cents in the second quarter and $2.86 for the year. KeyCorp's shares were up 12 cents, or 0.3%, to $36.98. National City ( NCC) had a profit of $459 million and 74 cents a share in the first quarter, compared with $484 million and 74 cents a share a year ago. Analysts were projecting 72 cents in the latest quarter. Shares of National City were gaining 68 cents, or 1.9%, to $35.69. Profits at State Street ( STT) jumped to $292 million, or 87 cents a share, in the latest quarter, from $226 million and 67 cents a share in the year-ago period. Revenue advanced 16% to $1.5 billion.
Excluding a 3-cent gain from a discontinued operation, State Street earned 84 cents a share. Analysts were expecting 77 cents a share for earnings with revenue of $1.46 billion. Shares were ahead by $4.47, or 7.4%, at $64.67. AmSouth ( ASO) made $181 million, or 52 cents a share, in the latest quarter, up from $179 million, or 50 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were looking for 51 cents. Shares of AmSouth edged up 8 cents, or 0.3%, to $27.92. For US Bancorp ( USB), earnings totaled $1.15 billion, or 63 cents a share, in the latest quarter. The company earned $1.07 billion, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting 62 cents a share in the most recent quarter. US Bancorp was unchanged at $30.38. Northern Trust ( NTRS) had net income of $163 million and 74 cents a share in the latest quarter, up from $139.1 million and 63 cents a share in the same period a year ago. The consensus profit estimate was 67 cents. Northern Trust was climbing $3.93, or 7.5%, to $56.69.