Merrill Lynch reported second-quarter net earnings up 61% to $1.02 billion, as its fixed income business continued to boom, according to the Financial Times. The firm also said it was encouraged by improvement in the stock market.

Merrill reported $1.02 billion in net earnings, or $1.05 per diluted share, contrasted with $634 million, or 66 cents, in the same period one year ago.

These results came after strong earnings announcements from Citigroup and Bank of America on Monday, defying analysts’ expectation that bank profits would be hurt by low interest rates.

Merrill stated the figure, 49% ahead of the first quarter, was the second-best quarterly result in its history. Stan O’Neal, chairman and chief executive, said two major factors contributing to the success were the fixed income environment and "the positive tone in the equity markets." In addition, Merrill’s diversification and streamlining contributed to the strong quarter, O’Neal added; the firm eliminated 1,3000 positions in the quarter.

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