Charles Schwab Profit More Than Doubled From Year Ago

Charles Schwab said fourth quarter earnings more than doubled over the previous year.

The San Francisco-based brokerage reported net income of $467 million, or 37 cents a share, up from $187 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier.

Results include a $205 million noncash tax benefit relating to the $3.3 billion sale announced in November of wealth management unit U.S. Trust to Bank of America, the company said.

Excluding the benefit, earnings were 21 cents a share, matching analysts' expectations.

Net revenue for the quarter rose 14%, to $1.1 billion.

"Economic drivers for the quarter looked pretty good," Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Richard Herr said. "Asset growth was strong, but the majority of growth was driven by
market gains."

Reclassifying earnings to reflect the pending U.S. Trust sale also made it difficult to compare the company's earnings with prior estimates, Herr added.

Schwab's annual net income was up 69% to a record $1.2 billion, compared with $725 million in 2005. Annual revenue was up 19%, at $4.3 billion.

Total client assets rose 18% in 2006 to $1.2 trillion at year's end.