Three investment banks reported double-digit third-quarter earnings declines Tuesday that reflected a downturn in trading and a slower new-issues market.

Merrill Lynch & Co., the nation's second-largest brokerage, posted net income of $572 million, down 15% from the second quarter but up 451% from the year earlier, when underwriting and trading ground to a halt after Russia defaulted on its domestic debt. Earnings per share of $1.34 beat analysts' consensus estimate by 5 cents.

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