While other online brokerages are showing signs of weakness, E-Trade Group Inc. is flexing its muscles with new initiatives and demonstrating the success of its coupling of an online bank with an Internet stock-trading service.
Indeed, it was the prosperity of E-Trade Bank - which picked up $1 billion of deposits in the fourth quarter - that helped offset flat results in the company's brokerage arm in the last quarter. While E-Trade has not been immune to the trading volume declines that have afflicted all brokerages, it seems to have shielded itself by emphasizing a "financial supermarket" strategy. After the market's close on Wednesday the company reported a small fourth-quarter profit, of $5.8 million, or 2 cents per share, compared with a loss of $38.1 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenues rose 22%, to $334 million.