Ameritrade Posts Mixed Results
Online discount broker Ameritrade reported a 91 percent increase in net revenues to $149 million for its second quarter, compared with $78 million in the same quarter last year.
But net income was $4.6 million, or 3 cents per share in the quarter ended June 30, compared with $8.9 million, or 5 cents per share in last year’s third quarter.
The company spent $41 million on advertising in the latest quarter, compared with $12 million in last year’s third quarter, and it spent $16.2 million developing its OnMoney subsidiary, compared with $1.6 million in the third quarter last year. The Web site OnMoney allows customers to organize their finances on the Internet.
Ameritrade, among the top 10 online brokers in number of trades, has been spending on advertising to develop its brand name and on technology to lower its costs per trade. Chief executive Tom Lewis said those investments are paying off, and the company added 186,000 accounts in the last quarter.
“We’re making investing a better customer experience by staying keenly focused on the needs of the self-directed investor,” Lewis said.
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AT&T Meets Expectations
Quarterly profits at AT&T Corp.’s.and its new wireless group beat Wall Street forecasts, but the nation’s biggest long-distance and cable TV company didn’t convince some analysts that recent problems have been overcome.
AT&T said net profits totaled $1.75 billion or 53 cents a share in the second quarter, up nearly 10 percent from $1.59 billion or 49 cents a share in the same period in 1999.
Operating profits, which exclude certain one-time factors and AT&T’s stakes in Cablevision and ExciteAtHome, came to $1.88 billion or 57 cents a share, topping the consensus forecast of analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial.
Second-quarter revenue totaled $16.87 billion, if adjusted to include a full quarter from the MediaOne, the cable TV company that AT&T acquired in mid-June.
AT&T Wireless Group posted an unexpected profit of $22 million or 6 cents a share in an abbreviated second quarter that began April 27, when the company was created through an initial public offering of a separate stock representing AT&T’s mobile phone business and a new initiative to deliver calls and Web access to homes using “fixed wireless” antennas. Analysts had expected the wireless group, which is still fully owned by AT&T, to show a loss of 1 cent per share, according to First Call.
Wireless revenues grew 31.9 percent to $2.48 billion compared with a year-ago tally of $1.88 billion. The average monthly revenue per subscriber was $71.50, up from the $66.40 reported for the second quarter of 1999.
But aside from the wireless group’s stellar showing, the update wasn’t quite so encouraging as some analysts had hoped, especially in terms of the business services unit’s recovery from some first-quarter stumbles and the company’s decision to wait before making forecasts for next year.
Meanwhile, AT&T’s second-quarter report also provided an early peak at the customer response to the new PocketNet online service for mobile phones launched in May and the company’s limited trials with residential fixed wireless service.