TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. reported lower earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter and issued cautious guidance about trading volume next year.

The online broker’s profit fell 14% as its assets fell and it had to make good on losses in a money market fund.

Bill Gerber, TD Ameritrade’s chief financial officer, said during a conference call with analysts that the Omaha company expects 266,000 to 316,000 average client trades per day in 2009. The 266,000 figure would be a 14% decline over 2008.

Fred Tomczyk, the company’s chief executive officer, said the uncertainty in the market "creates a wider range of possibilities around the key metrics that drive our business."

TD Ameritrade said it expects earnings of $1.10 to $1.42 a share in 2009. Analysts, on average, were expecting $1.33 a share.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30, the company reported net income of $172 million, or 29 cents a share, down from $200.4 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 13%, to $649.2 million. It took a $35.6 million charge for reimbursing clients for money market losses in the Reserve Primary Fund, which "broke the buck" because of exposure to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Excluding the money fund charge, TD Ameritrade’s earnings were 32 cents a share.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 30 cents a share on revenue of $606 million.

TD Ameritrade reported $278 billion in client assets in the quarter, down 8.2% from last year and 10% from the prior quarter.

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