UPDATE 1-Nasdaq fourth-quarter profit tops expectations

Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:52am EST
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(Adds financial details, background on acquisitions)

NEW YORK Jan 29 (Reuters) - Transatlantic exchange operator Nasdaq OMX Group on Thursday reported a drop in fourth-quarter profit, due in part to acquisition-related expenses and the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates.

Net income attributable to Nasdaq totaled $87 million, or 50 cents per share, down from $141 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, such as asset impairment charges, merger costs, and property-related expenses, the New York-based company earned 75 cents per share, beating the analysts' average estimate by 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 1 percent to $517 million.

Operating expenses were affected by foreign exchange rates, rising 22 percent to $344 million. Stripping out one-time charges, operating expenses fell 5 percent to $296 million.

Nasdaq said its non-GAAP operating expense guidance for 2015 would be in a range of $1.12 billion to $1.15 billion.

Chief Executive Robert Greifeld said the company planned to boost revenues by upgrading and launching new products within its recently acquired fixed income and corporate solutions businesses. In 2013, Nasdaq financed its $750 million purchase of eSpeed, the electronic Treasuries-trading platform, from BGC Partners Inc, a deal giving it a foothold in fixed income. It also closed a $390 million deal to buy Thomson Reuters Corp investor relations, public relations and multimedia services businesses.

Market services revenue at Nasdaq rose 0.5 percent to $205 million. Of that segment, cash equities revenues rose on higher U.S. stock trading volume, while access and broker services revenues were flat, and fixed income and derivatives revenues declined.   Continued...