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ICE fourth-quarter earnings edge higher

Steve Rothwell

ATLANTA (AP) -- IntercontinentalExchange, which operates commodity futures and derivatives exchanges, said Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings edged 2 percent higher despite costs related to its proposed acquisition of NYSE Euronext.

The Atlanta-based exchange, known as ICE, reported net income of $129.5 million, or $1.76 per share, in the three-month period ended Dec. 31. That compares with $126.8 million, or $1.73 a share, in the same period a year ago.

Stripping out certain costs that weren't linked to its core business, net income for the quarter rose 5 percent to $135 million, or $1.84 a share.

Total revenue fell a little more than 1 percent from a year ago, to $323.4 million.

The results were better than the $1.74 per share and $321.1 million in revenue that analysts forecast, according to FactSet.

ICE said in December that it will buy NYSE Euronext, owner of the New York stock exchange, for $8 billion.

The company is expects $10 million to $12 million of acquisition costs in the first quarter, mainly due to the NYSE purchase. ICE will also spend $20 million to $30 million consolidating multiple locations in New York this year.

NYSE's CEO Duncan Niederauer said on a call with analysts Tuesday that he is "cautiously optimistic" that the merger will be completed in the second half of this year.

For all of 2012 ICE's revenue about 3 percent to a record $1.36 billion.