Fourth-quarter profits at Boston-based State Street Corp. rose $239 million, the company said Tuesday, thanks to recent acquisitions and a more productive market.

The $0.71 cents per share increase came in above the $0.65 cents per share upswing predicted by analysts polled by Reuters research. The company made $28.5 million by selling its private asset management division, and earned $60 million in residual escrow from selling its corporate trust business in 2002.

Also notable was the fact that for the first time, assets topped a trillion dollars to hit $1.1 trillion.

Last year’s big move for the company was the purchase of Deutsche Bank’s custody business for $1.5 billion, which experts say the company has turned into a quicker-than-expected money producer.

CEO David A. Spina, while pleased with the results, was not in full-fledged celebratory mode amid the unpredictable, and still not fully recovered market conditions. "Although economic conditions seem to be improving, the business environment is still extremely fragile and interest rates are at 50-year lows," Spina said.

He also said that fierce competition would be a factor. Overall, though, he felt, "2003 was a challenging yet very productive year for us."

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