Despite reporting its second straight quarterly profit, E-Trade Financial Corp. has a lot to be concerned about.
The online brokerage giant, which has been hampered for years by bad loans from its banking unit, has seen trading activity continue to decline across the industry.
E-Trade said that daily average revenue trades declined 30% from a year earlier and 26% from the previous quarter because brokerage clients have reduced trading activity since the “flash crash” in May. As a result, the company reported Wednesday that revenue declined 15% to $489 million, but this beat analyst estimates of $317 million, according to Thomson Reuters.
The New York company, which in July broke a string of 11 straight quarterly losses, reported an overall profit of $8 million, or 3 cents a share, from a loss of $855 million, or $6.74 a share, a year earlier.
E-Trade isn’t alone. Large competitors, including Charles Schwab Corp., are also seeing a decline in trading. Schwab reported last week that its trading revenue dropped 24% from a year ago as its daily average revenue trades declined 15%. TD Ameritrade reports its fiscal fourth quarter results next week.
At E-Trade the news isn’t all bad. Net new brokerage accounts totaled 7,000 during the quarter, and E-Trade ended the quarter with $159 billion in total customer assets, up from $146 billion a year ago. A company executive said during its quarterly earnings call that investors have started to invest more in the past month.