January 31, 2018 / 9:09 PM / a year ago

Nasdaq quarterly profit tops views, keeps focus on tech

(Reuters) - Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) on Wednesday posted a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, helped by a rise in revenues from non-trading related businesses, which the transatlantic exchange operator has made a bigger part of its strategic focus.

A view of the exterior of the Nasdaq market site in Times Square after the Nasdaq breached the 6,000 mark for the first time ever on Tuesday, in New York City, NY, U.S. April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

One of the first things Chief Executive Officer Adena Friedman did when she took over the top job at Nasdaq at the beginning of last year was to initiate a strategic review of the company, which was competed in the third quarter.

The result was a shift of more money and personnel into the company’s market technology and information services units, which are less reliant on stock market volumes than Nasdaq’s traditional trading business and seen as long-term growth drivers for the company overall.

Stripping out deal-related gains, revenue in market technology, which includes market infrastructure and surveillance technology that Nasdaq sells to other exchanges and companies, rose 9 percent. Information services rose 7 percent, not including acquisition-related gains.

Nasdaq also closed its $705 million purchase of investment analytics provider eVestment in the fourth quarter, giving it additional institutional investment data and analytics to bolster its information services unit.

Overall, Nasdaq reported net income of $246 million (173.72 million pounds), or $1.45 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $224 million, or $1.35 per share, a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.05 per share, beating the average estimate of analysts by 5 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The fourth quarter included a decrease in tax expenses of about $87 million related to the remeasurement of deferred tax liability due to the new U.S. tax law.

Operating expenses rose 1.6 percent from a year earlier to $392 million.

Revenue, excluding transaction-based expenses, rose 6 percent to $635 million, beating Wall Street estimates of $630.4 million.

Reporting by John McCrank in New York and Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Supriya Kurane and Lisa Shumaker

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