Strong Data and Listings Growth Pushed Intercontinental Exchange Inc's Earnings Higher

Intercontinental Exchange's (NYSE: ICE), or ICE, revenue rose once again in the second quarter, marking the 17th consecutive time that sales increased. Both the data and listings and the trading and clearing segments delivered growth on the top and bottom lines, though the former delivered higher profit growth. That solid showing puts the company on pace to meet its full-year targets.

Intercontinental Exchange results: The raw numbers

What happened with Intercontinental Exchange this quarter?

The data and listings segment led the charge:

  • Data and listings revenue was $628 million, up 4.3% versus the year-ago quarter. Leading the way was data services revenue, which was up 5% to $521 million thanks to strong organic growth in pricing and analytics as well as exchange data. Meanwhile, listings revenue hit a record $107 million, which is 2% higher year over year. When combined with a 3% decline in adjusted operating expenses, adjusted operating income for the segment was up 11% versus last year's second quarter.
  • Trading and clearing segment revenue rose 4.4% to $550 million thanks to a 5% increase in net revenue from commodities and a 16% increase in revenue from other sources. Despite a 2% increase in adjusted operating costs, adjusted operating income rose 6% versus last year.
  • ICE generated robust free cash flow during the quarter, pushing its year-to-date total to $897 million. The company returned about 80% of that money to investors, repurchasing $469 million in stock and paying $239 million in dividends. It expects to return $1.4 billion to shareholders this year, a nearly $1 billion increase from last year.

What management had to say

CEO Jeffrey Sprecher commented on the company's second-quarter results, saying,

ICE's listing business continues to shine because the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) remains the go-to place for companies that want to raise capital in the global equity market. Through the first half, the NYSE has helped companies raise $19.3 billion via 49 initial public offerings (IPOs), which leads global exchanges by a wide margin and is well ahead of the Nasdaq, which came in third at $8.1 billion. In fact, the NYSE captured 88% of the U.S. market for IPOs this year, as companies choose to list there over the Nasdaq.

Looking forward

In commenting on what lies ahead, ICE's CFO Scott Hill said,

The company has already made good on the promise to continue returning cash to shareholders after buying back another $76 million in stock last month. These repurchases are starting to have an impact on the bottom line since the share count has declined nearly 1% over the past year.

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Matt DiLallo owns shares of Intercontinental Exchange. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Intercontinental Exchange. The Motley Fool recommends Nasdaq. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.