AMSTERDAM - Second-quarter profits at ING Group NV rose 24% from a year earlier, to $944 million, as high volume on stock markets boosted commission income.
Profit from banking operations jumped 37%, while profit from insurance rose 17%. The company's stock has gained 28% since the start of the year.
ING's new chief executive, Ewald Kist, raised the company's profit growth targets from 15% to 20% to reflect its deals to purchase Reliastar Financial Corp. and the financial services and international units of Aetna Inc., both agreed to this year.
The largest Dutch financial services company said it sees earnings per share doubling within six years.
It also raised its target for return on equity to 18% from 12% and is aiming for an annual increase in earnings per share of at least 12% before acquisitions.
"We're going to raise the bar, because we have to bring our costs down," Mr. Kist said. "It applies to everybody, even our largest units in mature markets like the Netherlands and Belgium."
Other European banking companies, including ABN Amro Holding NV and UBS AG, benefited from surging turnover in the financial markets in the first half, which boosted fees from equity transactions.