The market's hot, and so are the discount brokers. TD AMERITRADE
The results easily lapped the $0.21 a share that the company had earned a year earlier, and the $0.22 per share that analysts were looking for. Wall Street was impressed, sending the stock 4% higher at the open. The shares went on to pad those gains by treading higher through the morning.
The showing is a bigger feat than you may think. Fully diluted shares outstanding shot up by 47% over the past year, as the company completed its acquisition of TD Waterhouse.
Net income actually soared 69% on a 93% top-line surge; consolidation clearly was the big contributor to those healthy spurts. Nonetheless, it's refreshing to see TD AMERITRADE prove so adept at digesting its beefy buy without disrupting bottom-line growth on a per-share basis.
TD AMERITRADE is helping that metric along, too. The company has been buying back shares with its excess cash. With sector consolidation tapering off after a flurry of activity by it and other market leaders Charles Schwab
Things could have been rocky. The discount brokers don't have the luxury of the investment banking business, which has been booming for many of the full-service operators. You also had some intriguing zero-commission offers announced late last year from companies like Zecco.com or Bank of America
Those initiatives haven't hurt the acquisition of new accounts at AMERITRADE or its discounting rivals. More importantly, they haven't made a ripple in operations; TD AMERITRADE's pre-tax margins clocked in at a zesty 45% this past quarter.
For the entire fiscal year, which ends in September, the company remains comfortable with its earlier guidance, which calls for earnings of $1.10 a share. It's a good place to be, even though investor enthusiasm (or lack thereof ) in the coming quarters will likely sway that number higher or lower.
For now, TD AMERITRADE investors can rest easy, knowing that a plan is in place for the company to post its fifth consecutive year of record results. Let's hope the traders don't let them down.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been trading exclusively through discount brokers since 1990, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.