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BNP Paribas third-quarter profit falls less than expected

PARIS, Oct 31 (Reuters) - France's biggest listed lender BNP Paribas reported an 8.8% fall in quarterly profit on Thursday, a smaller decline than analysts expected, as it earned more from its investment banking business.

Net income for the third quarter was 1.94 billion euros ($2.16 billion), compared with 2.12 billion euros a year ago when its topline was boosted by gains on a stake sale.

It topped an average forecast of 1.80 billion euros in a Reuters survey of four analysts.

"The business of BNP Paribas was up this quarter in all the operating divisions in a context where economic growth slowed down but still remained positive in Europe, in particular in France," the bank said in a statement.

Pretax profits at its corporate and institutional bank rose by 13.5% in the third quarter, helped in particular by a 34.6% rise in revenue from fixed-income activities. ($1 = 0.8966 euros) (Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva, Editing by Sarah White and GV De Clercq)