Mellon Financial Corp. Tuesday reported a 24% increase in first-quarter earnings, owing to a $197 million gain from the sale of a stake in Japan's Shinsei Bank.

Mellon, which owns the Dreyfus mutual funds, said net income for the quarter rose to $255 million, or 60 cents a share, from $245 million, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier. That figure beat analysts' mean estimate of 44 cents a share.

Increased assets under management, strong results from private wealth management, higher volumes in securities lending and foreign exchange and new business in servicing assets all helped results, said Mellon Chief Executive Officer Martin McGuinn.

Assets under management, a key driver for earnings, rose to $729 billion from $707 billion at the end of 2004 and $679 billion a year earlier.

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