Thomson Reuters' second-quarter profit tops estimates

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp TRI.TOTRI.N on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings, helped by demand for market data, and increased its full-year forecast for margins and adjusted earnings per share.

The logo of Thomson Reuters is pictured at the entrance of its Paris headquarters, France, March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

The company’s shares hit an all-time high on the New York Stock Exchange, up 5 percent at $48.19, and were up 5.52 percent at C$60.20 on the Toronto Exchange.

The Toronto-based information services provider is seeing its business grow at a time when many financial services companies have been cutting headcount.

Despite this, the need for market data continues to grow, said Jim Smith, chief executive of Thomson Reuters, in an interview Tuesday.

“The overall demand for market data last year increased and has never been higher,” Smith said. “It’s just that it’s feeding machines as opposed to educating people behind terminals.”

Overall, clients, particularly in the United States, are optimistic about the markets, Smith said.

“Everyone is a bit more optimistic thinking about the future with a more normalized interest rate environment,” he said.

Sales in the company’s Financial & Risk division, which accounted for more than half of company revenue, outpaced cancellations, a key indicator of future growth, driven by sales in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Financial & Risk revenue, excluding currency, was up 2 percent to $1.5 billion.

The news and information company reported second-quarter net earnings of $206 million, or 27 cents per share, compared with $350 million or 45 cents per share a year ago.

Adjusted for special items, earnings were 60 cents per share, 8 cents ahead of estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company raised its 2017 forecast for earnings to between $2.40 and $2.45 per share, up from $2.35 and said adjusted earnings margins would also be higher than previously estimated.

Margins were stronger than expected, said Doug Arthur, managing director at Huber Research Partners LLC. “They are doing very well given the slow-growth environment,” he said.

Total second-quarter revenue was $2.78 billion, up 2 percent from a year earlier, but was flat when currency was factored in. That matched analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Thomson Reuters, which is the parent of Reuters News, competes for financial customers with Bloomberg LP, as well as News Corp's NWSA.O Dow Jones unit.

It also affirmed its 2017 outlook of low single-digit revenue growth.

The company saw increased revenue across all of its divisions except for Reuters News, which saw $74 million in revenue, down 5 percent year-over-year.

Smith said the revenue decline was due to a one-time benefit last year.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Nick Zieminski