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Chicago Merc First-Quarter Profit Up 42%

Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings , which is fighting rival IntercontinentalExchange to buy the Chicago Board of Trade in a move to create one of the world's largest future exchanges, said Tuesday its first-quarter earnings rose 42% on increased volume across all product lines.

For the quarter ended March 31, profit rose to $130 million, or $3.69 per share, from $91.4 million, or $2.61 per share, a year ago.

Revenue climbed 32% to $332.3 million from $251.7 million in the prior-year period, driven by a sharp jump in clearing and transaction fees to $258.2 million and processing services to $34.8 million.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for profit of $3.62 per share on revenue of $334.4 million.

"During the first quarter, we surpassed volume records in all our products lines, leading to the strongest top-line, quarter-over-quarter growth since 2004 and resulting in record earnings and cash flow," said CME Executive Chairman Terry Duffy.

CME said average daily volume reached 6.5 million contracts during the first quarter, up 30% year-over-year. Trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform grew 40% to 4.8 million contracts per day from 3.4 million last year.