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MARKETS | Wall Street Roundup

Merrill Lynch profit increases by 31%

July 18, 2007|From Times Wire Services

Merrill Lynch & Co. said its second-quarter profit rose 31% as stock-market gains and historically low financing costs spurred more trading, share sales and takeovers.

Net income in the second quarter jumped to $2.14 billion, or $2.24 a share, from $1.63 billion, or $1.63, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected earnings of $2.02 a share. Merrill shares, however, fell $1.19, or 1.4%, to $86.20.

Trading revenue rose a Wall Street-leading 34%, helping Merrill weather the deepening crisis in mortgage-backed securities.

Merrill said revenue from structured finance and investments, which include the firm's mortgage business, declined in the second quarter. Chief Executive Stanley O'Neal said in a statement that the market environment was "volatile and, at times, hostile."

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