Piper Jaffray Earns 76 Cents a Share, Beating Estimates

Piper Jaffray said on Wednesday its fiscal third-quarter income from continuing operations more than doubled, helped by rising merger advisory fees and setting aside less money for litigation.

Shares of the Minneapolis-based investment bank, which focuses on small and mid-sized companies, rose as much as 4.5% after the results, which beat expectations.

The company said income from continuing operations was $26.7 million, or $1.49 a share, up from $11.6 million, or 63 cents a share, a year earlier. The results were boosted by 73 cents a share because of the reduction of a litigation reserve.

Excluding that item, the company's earnings from continuing operations were 76 cents, or six cents above the consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Financial.

Revenues from advising companies on merger deals were $36 million, up 8% from the same quarter in the prior year, which helped to lift total revenue to $146.6 million, up 24% from the same quarter in 2005.

The company's shares rose 61% in 2006, outperforming the roughly 23% increase by the Amex Securities Broker Dealer Index.