UPDATE 2-Discount broker Charles Schwab's profit beats estimates

Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:37am EST

* 4th-qtr profit $0.23/share vs est $0.21

* Rev up 18 pct to $1.43 bln

Jan 16 (Reuters) - Discount broker Charles Schwab Corp reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as it earned more from trading commissions and fees for managing client assets.

Schwab's revenue jumped 18 percent to $1.43 billion in the fourth quarter and net interest margin was higher than its own forecast.

The increase in revenue more than offset a 7.5 percent rise in expenses.

Asset management and administration fees soared 13 percent to $608 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

Trading revenue grew to $231 million from $202 million a year earlier.

Customer's daily trading volume, Schwab's traditional measure of client confidence and risk-taking, rose 8 percent to an average 487,800 trades per day.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, which has kept interest rates artificially low to boost spending, will begin tapering its $85 billion monthly bond buying program by $10 billion starting 2014, boosting net interest income at giant retail brokerages.

Net income available to common stockholders rose to $297 million, or 23 cents per share, from $189 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected earnings of 21 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The beat was "driven by across-the-board topline strength, reinforcing our 'increased retail engagement' thesis," Sandler O'Neill analyst Richard Repetto wrote in a report to investors. Repetto has a 'buy" rating on Schwab stock.

Shares of the company were marginally up at $26.10 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

The stock has jumped 13 percent since the company last reported results. The broader S&P 500 Financials Sector Index has gained 9 percent in past three months.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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