Schwab Q4 profit jumps 29 percent vs yr ago, but off from Q3
NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Charles Schwab Corp, the biggest online broker by market capitalization, said fourth-quarter net income rose 29 percent from a year earlier on growing client assets, but fell 15 percent from the third quarter.
The company and its rivals, viewed as proxies for individual investor interest in the market, continued to be challenged by rock-bottom interest rates that hurt its returns on investing clients' money.
San Francisco-based Schwab said net profit rose to $211 million, or 15 cents a share, matching the mean consensus estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Third-quarter earnings totaled $247 million.
Revenue jumped 9 percent and expenses were up 1.2 percent from the year earlier. Schwab last month forecast an 8 percent gain in revenue, a 1 percent decline in expenses and a jump of about 25 percent in net income before payment of preferred dividends.
Low interest rates have also led Schwab and its rivals to waive fees charged to clients for their money-market investments out of concern the low-yielding vehicles would have negative returns if a fee was imposed.
Schwab waived $587 million in money-market fees in 2012, including $142 million in the fourth quarter. It waived $1 billion in the previous two years.
Total client assets grew 3 percent in the quarter, and 16 percent from a year earlier, to $1.95 billion, but average revenue-producing trading fell 14 percent from the third quarter.