NEW YORK (AP) _ Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. reported its first-quarter earnings more than doubled, but the results fell short of Wall Street expectations and sent the investment firm's stock falling sharply.

Bear Stearns said Wednesday it had earnings of $157.9 million, or $1 per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 24, up 146 percent from $64.1 million, or 38 cents per share, for the same period last year

The company fell well short of analyst expectations of $1.15 per share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. Investors bid Bear Stearns stock down $3.50 a share to $36.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Revenues came to $1.05 billion, up from $740.9 million.

Bear Stearns said its commission revenues fell 5.1 percent to $228.5 million because of a drop in investor transactions as the stock market suffered through a volatile period. But gains in other businesses _ such as investment banking, where revenues rose nearly 116 percent to $262.5 million _ offset the commission decline.

Bear Stearns reported an increase in underwriting, mergers and acquisitions activity and merchant banking, all part of its investment banking business.

Revenues from principal transactions, those made for Bear Stearns' own accounts, rose 84 percent to $362.2 million.