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Chase Fourth-Quarter Earnings Jump, Trading Helps
Reuters
NEW YORK — Chase Manhattan Corp., the third largest U.S. banking company, said on Tuesday its fourth-quarter profits rose 31 percent to $1.146 billion as it took advantage of volatile markets and skirted problems besetting other multinational banks.

Chase, whose earnings of $1.31 a share beat Wall Street estimates by 12 cents, said its global bank revenues rose $675 million to $2.495 billion in the fourth quarter as trading revenues and related net interest income jumped to $692 million from $96 million. Most of Chase's trading revenues come from the bank's market-making activities, not trading for its own account.

Revenues for Chase's global services division, which includes transaction processing, cash management and trust services, rose $106 million in the fourth quarter to $724 million, helped by higher volumes from acquisitions.

At the bank's national consumer services unit, which includes credit cards and mortgage banking, revenues rose 15 percent to $2.217 billion. The acquisition of portfolios, pricing initiatives and higher levels of consumer card usage all bolstered cardmember services revenues while the favorable U.S. interest rate environment helped home finance revenues.

Total operating non-interest expenses rose to $2.87 billion in the fourth quarter from $2.47 billion in last year's fourth quarter, partly due to investment spending and the cost of getting the bank ready for year 2000 and Europe's adoption of economic and monetary union, Chase said.

The bank also said its exposure to emerging markets in Latin America and Asia, excluding Japan, Australia and New Zealand, which had been problematic for many money center banks in the third quarter, fell 34 percent in 1998.

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