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Marsh & McLennan Profit Up 2.9%, Plans $1.5 Billion Buyback

Insurance broker Marsh & McLennan said Tuesday quarterly earnings rose 2.9%, but missed analysts' forecasts, as operating expenses not related to compensation and benefits rose.

Marsh , the world's largest insurance broker, also announced a plan to buy back $1.5 billion of stock, which it said it would begin as soon as possible.

Net income was $177 million or 31 cents a share, up from $172 million, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier.

Consolidated revenue rose 7% to $2.82 billion.

Earnings from continuing operations rose by a penny to 25 cents per share.

According to Reuters Estimates, adjusted for restructuring and legal and regulatory settlement charges, it earned 29 cents a share. Analysts had forecast earnings of 36 cents per share.

Other operating expenses rose 17% in the quarter to $854 million.

Marsh & McLennan's shares closed on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday night at $27.65, up 78 cents or nearly 3%. In the last 12 months, Marsh & McLennan has risen about 7%, or about the same as the Standard & Poor's insurance index .