Northern Trust in Chicago reported slightly lower third-quarter profits, as an increase in fee-based income was offset by higher operating expenses.

The $111 billion-asset bank's earnings fell 1% from the same period last year, to $204.5 million. Earnings were 84 cents per share, 3 cents below the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

In heavy trading, Northern Trust's shares were down 5.6% late Wednesday, to $61.84.

Higher operating costs held down profits. Noninterest expenses rose 5%, to $774.7 million, mainly due to an increase in salary and benefits costs.

Noninterest income climbed 2%, to $829.6 million, as fees from investment servicing outweighed lower revenue from foreign exchange trading. Net interest income rose 5%, to $249.3 million, as total loans climbed 6%, to $30.7 billion. However, the net interest margin compressed 8 basis points, to 1.02%.

Asset quality improved from a year ago. The bank recorded no provision for losses in the third quarter, after setting aside $5 million for bad loans last year.

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