E*Trade profit up on market unrest

ONLINE broker E*Trade Financial swung to a profit and beat expectations in the first-quarter, it announced yesterday.

Loan loss provisions fell 40 per cent from the previous quarter to $116m (£70.7m), suggesting the US firm is more confident about its mortgage loan performance and the economy.

Daily trading, meanwhile, jumped 14 per cent from last year, as unrest in North Africa and the disaster in Japan roiled markets and spurred E*Trade’s retail investors in the first three months of 2011. Trading has fallen five per cent so far in April from March, E*Trade said.

The company’s shares jumped nearly five per cent to $16.70 in after-hours trading last night, their highest in two months.

Chief executive Steven Freiberg, who took the reins a year ago, said E*Trade was now “well positioned for growth”.

E*Trade reported a net profit of $45m, compared with a loss of $48m a year ago. Revenue was unchanged at $537m.