Capital One Financial Corp., its shares battered by credit quality worries and a Justice Department suit against MasterCard and Visa, said profits rose 42% in the third quarter.

The total was $70 million, up from $49.3 million a year earlier. Per- share earnings of $1 were up from 73 cents. The strong showing reflected record growth in accounts and balances outstanding.

"This is the strongest quarter in our history," said Richard D. Fairbank, chairman and chief executive officer. "We are on track for 40% earnings growth in 1998."

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