Online Broker ETrade Breaks Even
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) _ First-quarter earnings at ETrade Group Inc. met Wall Street’s expectations Tuesday, but the online brokerage saw new accounts and revenue plunge along with the stock market.
For the three-month period that ended March 31, ETrade posted a net loss of $9.2 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with a loss of $25.5 million, or 9 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.
Excluding one-time items the online brokerage earned $868,000, essentially break-even per share, compared with a loss of $672,000, or break-even per share in the comparable period of 2000. That matched the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.
Revenue fell 21 percent, to $329.6 million from $416.7 million.
While the company added 166,112 new brokerage and banking accounts in the quarter _ bringing the total to more than 3.7 million _ that amounted to a 73 percent decline in new accounts from the same period last year, when ETrade signed up 610,681 new accounts. New accounts also were down 32 percent from the fourth quarter.
Also, the cost of signing up new customers jumped 50 percent to $387.
Not surprisingly, given the broad stock declines this year, total assets held by ETrade’s users dropped to $47.9 billion, down 27 percent from this time last year and down 9 percent from Dec. 31.
Chairman and CEO Christos M. Cotsakos said ETrade was focusing on ``deepening customer relationships, offering innovative new products and capitalizing on new revenue streams.″
ETrade shares rose $1.32, more than 21 percent, to $7.55 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, but lost 10 cents in after-hours trading.
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