Nasdaq beats profit estimates on trading strength

Exchange operator Nasdaq Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, boosted by strength in its trading business as frenzied activity in stock markets continued.

The company posted adjusted net income of $1.90 per share for the second quarter ended June 30, beating estimates of $1.75, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Continued volatility in stock markets, fueled in part by a cohort of retail investors using mobile apps like Robinhood, drove up trading volumes in the quarter.

The activity, however, moderated from the first quarter as social activities resumed due to vaccinations against COVID-19 that led to a reopening of the economy.

Nasdaq also welcomed 135 initial public offerings in the quarter, of which 88 were operating companies like AppLovin Corp and Marqeta Inc and the rest were special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

IPOs have had a banner year so far, led by SPACs. In less than six months, capital raised through U.S. IPOs overtook last year’s record.

Revenue from Nasdaq’s market services unit, its biggest business, jumped 13% to $312 million.

The investment intelligence segment, its biggest non-trading business which includes indexes, raked in $263 million in revenue, a jump of 23% from a year earlier, as investors poured into products related to the company’s indexes.

The company bought back $248 million worth of shares in the quarter, it said.

Excluding transaction-based expenses, revenue surged 21% to $846 million.