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TD Ameritrade raises its forecast

December 19, 2007|From Times Wire Services

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., the third-largest U.S. discount broker, raised its fiscal first-quarter earnings forecast after trading by its clients rose to a record in November as stock prices tumbled.

Earnings will be about 39 cents a share for the quarter ending this month, up from a previous forecast of as much as 33 cents, the Omaha-based company said Tuesday. Daily average client trades rose to a record 339,000 in November, up 0.9% from October, the firm said.

Ameritrade shares rose 78 cents, or 4%, to $20.18 in after-hours trading after the announcement, putting the stock up 25% this year.

The brokerage boosted advertising last month in a bid to draw customers from E-Trade Financial Corp. after a Citigroup Inc. analyst said mounting mortgage-related losses raised the chances that E-Trade could seek protection from creditors.

Ameritrade is offering to add as much as $300 to the accounts of investors who switch from rivals through the end of the year.

Client assets at Ameritrade totaled about $301 billion at the end of last month, down from $313 billion Oct. 31, reflecting November's drop in stock prices.

In October, Ameritrade predicted per-share profit this quarter of 27 cents to 33 cents. The forecast was based on handling as many as 277,000 average daily trades, according to its website.

Charles Schwab Corp. said last week that daily average revenue-producing trades rose to 344,400 last month, up 8% from October. Customer assets totaled $1.45 trillion as of Nov. 30, the San Francisco-based company said.

E-Trade, which received a $2.55-billion infusion last month to shore up its online bank, stopped reporting trades on a monthly basis. Fidelity Investments, the No. 2 discount broker by customer assets, also doesn't disclose monthly trading data.

From Times Wire Services

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