* Retail daily average trades up 8 percent
* Client assets rise 11 pct from a year earlier
* Sandler O'Neill raises EPS estimate
* Shares rise 1.5 pct
(Adds acquisition details; updates shares)
SAN FRANCISCO, May 18 OptionsXpress Holdings
Inc OXPS.O, an online broker being acquired by Charles Schwab
Corp (SCHW.N), said on Wednesday that April retail trading
activity increased an average 8 percent from a year earlier.
The increase bucks a trend of declining April trading at
the three major online brokers, Schwab, TD Ameritrade Holding
Corp (AMTD.O) and E*Trade Financial Corp (ETFC.O), which
together reported an average 2.3 percent decline in April daily
Shares of optionsXpress rose 27 cents, or 1.5 percent, to
$17.84 on Nasdaq. Schwab gained 1.7 percent to $17.65.
Schwab agreed to buy optionsXpress in March in a $1 billion
all-stock deal that valued optionsXpress at $17.91 per share,
17 percent more than its closing price on the trading day
before the acquisition was announced.
Chicago-based optionsXpress said on Wednesday that client
assets stood at $8.7 billion at the end of April, 11 percent
higher than a year earlier and up 3 percent from March.
Daily average trades are a widely watched measure of client
confidence in the market and may portend higher revenue for
firms. Retail average daily revenue trades at optionsXpress
rose to 36,100 in April, up 2 percent from March.
Sandler O'Neill analyst Richard Repetto on Wednesday raised
his second-quarter earnings estimate for optionsXpress to 26
cents per share from 23 cents, citing the higher retail trading
San Francisco-based Schwab's move to buy optionsXpress
would give it some of the most active retail traders in the
booming options market. TD Ameritrade bought options specialist
thinkorswim in 2009, also to gain more options traders.
OptionsXpress expects the acquisition to be completed in
the third quarter.
The prevalence of Web-based brokers, their
investor-education drives and a move to electronic markets have
helped increase trading in options, which give contract holders
the right to buy or sell an underlying security over an agreed
time, or at a set date.
(Reporting by Philipp Gollner; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and
Gerald E. McCormick)