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Charles Schwab says trading volumes still weak

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Charles Schwab Corp. said Thursday that it's cutting spending, citing lackluster trading activity.

Joe Martinetto, the discount broker's chief financial officer, said in a statement that the company hasn't seen the rebound in trade volumes that it expected, so it's adjusting its 2013 spending plans accordingly.

As a result, Charles Schwab expects to post a first-quarter profit that at least matches its fourth-quarter earnings. The company's fourth-quarter earnings totaled 15 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect a first-quarter profit of 17 cents per share.

The company said its daily client trades totaled 506,100 in February, representing a 1 percent increase from the same month in 2012. But they were flat compared with January. The results included a 2 percent sequential decline in daily average revenue trades.

Net new assets brought to the company by new and existing clients during the month totaled $18.3 billion. Total client assets reached $2.04 trillion as of the end of February, up 13 percent from the same month a year ago and up 1 percent from January.

Charles Schwab shares fell 19 cents to $17.92 in afternoon trading, after earlier hitting $18.34, their highest point in nearly two years.