Charles Schwab Corp.'s stock gained 0.9% in premarket trade Friday, after the discount brokerage giant reported first-quarter profit and revenue that rose from year ago levels, with revenue beating expectations. Earnings increased to $412 million, or 29 cents a share, from $302 million, or 22 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago, matching the FactSet consensus for earnings per share of 29 cents. Revenue grew 16% to $1.76 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $1.75 billion. Profit margin improved to 37.1% from 31.7%, while return on average common stockholders' equity increased to 13% from 10%. Total client assets at the end of the quarter was $2.56 trillion, up 1% from last year. "The ongoing effect of the Fed's initial interest rate hike in December has provided a glimpse of Schwab's earnings power as rates normalize, with our diversified revenue streams generating strong first quarter revenue growth and our steady expense discipline continuing," said Chief Financial Officer Joe Martinetto. The stock has dropped 13% year to date through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.9%.
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