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MERRILL LYNCH REPORTS RECORD QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE; NET EARNINGS ADVANCE 53 PERCENT TO $277.5 MILLION

 MERRILL LYNCH REPORTS RECORD QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE;
 NET EARNINGS ADVANCE 53 PERCENT TO $277.5 MILLION
 NEW YORK, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first quarter of 1992, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) today reported record quarterly net earnings of $277.5 million, 53 percent above the $181.0 million reported in first quarter 1991.
 Earnings per common share were $2.39 primary and fully diluted, compared with $1.62 primary and $1.55 fully diluted in the year-ago period.
 While net revenues increased 24 percent, non-interest expenses rose 14 percent. Despite a substantially higher effective income tax rate, the company's net profit margin advanced to 12.5 percent versus 10.1 percent in the prior year's quarter.
 "In a favorable market environment with vigorous activity by issuer and investor clients alike, earnings were enhanced by our strong market position and effective cost management across-the-board. Expenses were consistent with the level of business activity and remained well under control. The focus and discipline we've achieved in our global business operations continue to serve us well," said William A. Schreyer, chairman and chief executive officer, and Daniel P. Tully, president and chief operating officer, in a joint statement.
 Revenues
 Net revenues (revenues after interest expense) advanced 24 percent to a record $2.2 billion. Total revenues of $3.4 billion, also a record, increased 9 percent compared with the 1991 first quarter. Revenues in all operating categories increased over the prior year's quarter.
 Investment banking revenues of $361 million, an 85 percent increase over the year-ago period, resulted from a continued strong underwriting performance. Merrill Lynch maintained its underwriting leadership for the 17th consecutive quarter, and was the leading underwriter in numerous U.S. and global categories, including: corporate debt and equity, taxable debt, common stock, initial public offerings, and disclosed new issue fees.
 Principal transaction revenues advanced 4 percent to a record $574 million. Contributing to this performance were strong results in swaps, over-the-counter equities, government securities, high-yield securities, mortgage-backed securities, money market products, corporate bonds and preferred stock. Net interest and dividend profit of $199 million increased 31 percent.
 Commission revenues advanced 28 percent to $685 million, nearly matching the company's 1987 first quarter record of $691 million, as a result of high levels of investor participation. Commissions for listed securities, mutual funds and annuities contributed to the gain over the prior-year period.
 Asset management and custodial fee revenues advanced 16 percent over the 1991 first quarter to $220 million, reflecting continued strong investor demand for professional asset management services. At quarter- end, client assets under fee-based management by Merrill Lynch Asset Management had increased by $8 billion from the year-earlier quarter, to $129 billion.
 Expenses
 Total non-interest expenses of $1.7 billion increased 14 percent from the
1991 first quarter. As a direct result of increased business activity and profitability, compensation and benefits expense increased 15 percent. Compensation and benefits expense as a percentage of net revenues declined to 49.9 percent from 53.7 percent in the comparable 1991 quarter.
 Among other expense categories, advertising and market development expense increased 50 percent because of higher sales promotion and recognition program costs for financial consultants, along with higher advertising expenditures consistent with the business environment. Brokerage, clearing and exchange fees were up 11 percent.
 Facilities-related expenses, including depreciation, remained flat with the prior year's quarter.
 The 1992 first quarter tax provision of $201 million represents a 42.0 percent effective tax rate, compared with the 31.6 percent effective tax rate in the quarter a year ago.
 MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC.
 Preliminary Unaudited Earnings Summary
 (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 For the Three Months Ended Pct. of $
 3/27/92 Pct. of 3/29/91 Pct. of Change
 (13 Wks.) Revs.(A) (13 Wks.) Revs.(A) Inc.
 (Dec.)
 Revenues:
 Commissions $ 685,190 20.1 $ 534,518 17.0 28.2
 Int. & divs. 1,390,645 40.7 1,498,528 47.7 (7.2)
 Principal
 transactions 573,992 16.8 549,568 17.5 4.4
 Investment
 banking 361,139 10.6 194,916 6.2 85.3
 Asset mgmt. &
 custodial fees 220,149 6.4 190,569 6.1 15.5
 Other 183,163 5.4 171,050 5.5 7.1
 Total revenues 3,414,278 100.0 3,139,149 100.0 8.8
 Interest expense 1,191,893 34.9 1,347,112 42.9 (11.5)
 Net revenues 2,222,385 65.1 1,792,037 57.1 24.0
 Non-int. exps.:
 Compensation &
 benefits 1,109,775 49.9 961,721 53.7 15.4
 Occupancy 121,886 5.5 121,206 6.8 0.6
 Communications
 & equip. rental 87,806 4.0 86,224 4.8 1.8
 Depreciation &
 amortization 67,742 3.1 67,715 3.8 --
 Brokerage, clear-
 ing & exch. fees 67,381 3.0 60,949 3.4 10.6
 Advertising &
 market developmt. 73,452 3.3 48,939 2.7 50.1
 Professional fees 57,730 2.6 50,993 2.8 13.2
 Other 158,172 7.1 129,776 7.2 21.9
 Total non-int.
 expenses 1,743,944 78.5 1,527,523 85.2 14.2
 Earnings before
 income taxes 478,441 21.5 264,514 14.8 80.9
 Inc. tax expense 200,945 9.0 83,544 4.7 140.5
 Net earnings $ 277,496 12.5 $ 180,970 10.1 53.3
 Preferred stock
 dividends $ 1,874 $ 5,691
 Net earnings
 applic. to com.
 stockholders $ 275,622 $ 175,279
 Earnings per
 common share:
 Primary $ 2.39 $ 1.62
 Fully diluted $ 2.39 $ 1.55
 Average shares:
 Primary 115,543 108,119
 Fully diluted 115,543 115,145
 (A) -- Revenues and interest expense are presented as a percentage of total revenues. Non-interest expenses and earnings are presented as a percentage of net revenues.
 -0- 4/14/92
 /CONTACT: James Wiggins, 212-449-7280, or William Clark, 212-449-7284, both of Merrill Lynch/
 (MER) CO: Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. ST: New York IN: FIN SU: ERN


GK-TS -- NY015 -- 8122 04/14/92 09:36 EDT
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