Northern Trust, the nation's third-largest custody bank, said Wednesday that its third-quarter profit rose 4.9% from the same period last year, to $178.8 million, as improved asset quality and strong fee-income growth more than offset dips in interest income and foreign-exchange income.

Its earnings per share of 73 cents increased 4.3% year over year but fell a penny short of estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

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