While there are many positives to take from Ameritrade's (NASDAQ:AMTD) latest quarterly report, a negative worth mentioning is its latest round of DARTs (daily average revenue trades), which aren't exactly hitting the bull's-eye. This quarter saw an average of 123,630 trades per day -- a 22% decrease from the same quarter a year ago. Some comfort can be found in that E*Trade (NYSE:ET) and Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCH) are facing similar problems.

Aside from light volume, there is much to like about Ameritrade's current results. For its 2004 fiscal year the company posted net revenues of $880 million, a year-over-year increase of 23%. More impressively, with net income of $272 million for 2004, it managed to pull off a 100% year-over-year increase in earnings per share (EPS).

The doubling of its EPS is likely a result of healthy profit margins and the reduction of outstanding shares. In 2004, the company bought back 26 million shares, making a greater amount of earnings available to each share. Shareholders have to like bigger slices of Ameritrade's pie.

Equally impressive is that Ameritrade's return on equity improved 83% year over year to its current level of 22%. Couple this with net profit margins of 31%, and it is clear that Ameritrade is doing the little things right.

Though the industry experienced a hiccup in trading volume for 2004, Ameritrade executives are anticipating a pickup in volume after the presidential election. With increased trading expected in the quarters ahead, the company raised its EPS forecast into a range of $0.72 to $0.89 for 2005.

If indeed a buying stampede starts anew, given the company's forward price to earnings ratio (P/E) of 13 with expected earnings growth of 39%, Ameritrade shareholders appear poised to make a run with the bulls.

Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.