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Nasdaq Profits Up 70 Percent Amid Battle For New York Stock Exchange

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Nasdaq OMX Group's (NDAQ.O) quarterly profit rose 70 percent, as the exchange operator battling to buy out crosstown rival NYSE was helped by robust European and derivatives trading.

Excluding one-time items, the profit was 61 cents per share, matching the average analyst estimate, as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $415 million, better than the $409 million expected by analysts. Costs rose 12 percent from last year, offset by a 26 percent rise in trading-based revenue.

Nasdaq this month joined with IntercontinentalExchange (ICE.N) to bid for Big Board parent NYSE Euronext (NYX.N), which earlier this year agreed to be acquired by Germany's Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE).

Though NYSE's board rejected the higher offer from Nasdaq and ICE, the pair sweetened the bid on Tuesday with a promise to pay NYSE Euronext $350 million if regulators block their takeover plan -- a move meant to ease the board's antitrust worries, and to draw them to the negotiating table.

The U.S.-based, transatlantic company earned $104 million, or 57 cents per share in the first quarter, up 70 percent from $61 million, or 28 cents, a year ago.

The company expects between $895 million and $915 million in operating expenses in 2011, in line with most analysts' projections.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Derek Caney)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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