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NCO Group profit surges

Horsham, PA (AP) – NCO Group Inc., which provides  business process outsourcing services, posted an 18 percent jump in fourth-quarter  profit despite a correction in the way the company recognizes revenue.

Horsham-based  NCO said net income rose to $12.2 million from $10.3 million a year earlier.

On  a per-share basis, however, earnings fell to 36 cents from 37 cents, reflecting  an increase in the number of shares outstanding.

The latest results were  hurt by a correction in the way the company recognizes certain cash receipts for  contingency revenue. That correction reduced revenue by $2.7 million and net income  by $947,000, or 3 cents a diluted share, NCO said.

Analysts surveyed by  Thomson First Call had expected fourth-quarter earnings of 39 cents a share.

Revenue  for the latest quarter advanced 26.5 percent to $237.3 million from $187.6 million  a year earlier.

The company also said it expects 2005 earnings per share  in a range of $1.70 to $1.80. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call have, on  average, been projecting 2005 earnings of $1.81 a share.

For all of 2004,  net income came to $51.9 million, or $1.60 a share, compared with $42.4 million,  or $1.54 a share.

Full-year revenue rose to $939.8 million from $753.8 million  a year before.

Lehman profits soar on record revenue

New York (AP)  – Surprising strength in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bond and fixed-income  business resulted in record profits for the brokerage house Tuesday, and Wall  Street responded by sending the company’s shares up nearly 3 percent.

For  the first quarter ended Feb. 28, Lehman earned $875 million, or $2.91 per share, compared to $670 million, or $2.21 per share,  in the first quarter of 2004 — a 32 percent rise in net earnings. Revenues rose  21 percent to $3.81 billion from $3.14 billion a year ago.

Revenues, net  income and earnings per share all set quarterly records for Lehman.

Analysts  surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of $2.20 per share on revenues  of $3.14 billion.

Revenues from the firm’s capital markets division,  where most of its credit, debt and bond businesses are recorded, jumped 21 percent  to $2.69 billion. Of that, $2.1 billion came from fixed-income business, while  $622 million was gained through stock transactions.

Lehman’s investment  banking business saw a 34 percent rise in revenues from last year, and the company  noted that it served as an adviser in four of the top 10 mergers and acquisition  deals in the quarter, including SBC Communications Inc.’s bid for AT&T  Corp. and Sprint Corp.’s merger with Nextel Communications Inc.

Lehman’s  investment management division saw a 5 percent increase in revenues, it’s  second best showing. The division includes both institutional and private-client  management.

Non interest expenses for the quarter rose to $2.5 billion from  $2.1 billion a year ago.

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