Piper Jaffray Cos. said Wednesday that its first-quarter net loss increased 92.9% from a year earlier, to $2.7 million, or 17 cents a share.

However, the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet Research Systems Inc. had called for the Minneapolis investment bank to report a loss of 25 cents a share.

Piper Jaffray said its revenue from continuing operations fell 12.3%, to $83.9 million.

Despite the revenue drop, "as a direct result of reducing our costs, we achieved a $3.5 million pretax profit," said Andrew Duff, its chairman and chief executive officer. "Revenues rebounded from the fourth quarter. We are seeing a benefit to our financial results from the senior talent we have added and from the disruption in the competitive landscape."

Investment banking revenue declined 59% from a year earlier and was flat from the fourth quarter, at $25.3 million.

Fixed-income financing revenue dropped 36% from a year earlier but climbed 16% from the fourth quarter, to $12.4 million. Equity financing revenue fell 75% from a year earlier and 4% from the fourth quarter, to $4.1 million.

Revenue from institutional sales and trading climbed 74% from a year earlier and more than doubled from the fourth quarter, to $58.5 million.

Despite those figures, "our global investment banking businesses remain challenged," Duff said.

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