Alex. Brown Inc. yesterday reported that its first-quarter earnings fell 29 percent in the first quarter, a slack period for underwriting activity.
The investment banking and securities brokerage firm reported net income of $16.4 million for the three months that ended March 31, down from $23 million in the same period a year ago.
Revenue was off 7 percent, at $151.3 million.
"It's a good showing considering underwriting for most of the quarter was off, and it appears management did a good job of controlling operating costs," said Perrin H. Long, a Brown Bros. Harriman analyst who tracks Alex. Brown.
Despite the drop in profits, Alex. Brown posted a number of positive results.
Commission revenues increased 4 percent, to $39.6 million, from the previous first quarter, while interest and dividend revenues rose to $21.1 million, a 38 percent jump.
Although its investment banking revenues fell 21 percent, to $40.3 million, Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. was ranked second on a list of brokerage houses in the number of common stock offerings managed and No. 8 among all advisers for the number of worldwide merger and advisory transactions completed in the quarter.
Alex. Brown & Sons, the company's principal subsidiary, is the nation's oldest investment banking firm.
"I think we put in one of the better relative performances in our industry," Alex. Brown Chairman and Chief Executive A. B. Krongard said yesterday.
Alex. Brown ended the first quarter with assets under management totaling $8.9 billion and stockholders' equity of $401.5 million.
The results were released after the stock markets closed yesterday. Alex. Brown's stock closed yesterday at $38.12 per share, down 25 cents per share.