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Nasdaq profit tops estimates on robust demand for software products

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FILE PHOTO: The Nasdaq logo is displayed at the Nasdaq Market site in Times Square in New York
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By Manya Saini and John McCrank

(Reuters) -Nasdaq Inc topped Wall Street estimates for first-quarter profit on Wednesday, driven by robust demand for its investment- and market technology-related products that offset a lull in initial public offerings.

The stock exchange operator has diversified under Chief Executive Officer Adena Friedman, repositioning as a financial technology company with an expanding footprint in the software sector, offering analytics, data and cloud services.

Revenues from the New York-based company's market services segment eased 6% to $315 million from a record quarter last year, while the company's solutions segment, which also includes anti-financial crime and environmental, social, and governance advisory products, rose 15% to $576 million.

Net revenue was up 5% at $892 million.

Sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine boosted demand for Nasdaq's anti-financial crime products from large banks, Friedman said on a call with analysts.

"When the sanctions hit, they were quickly able to update and upgrade the sanction module that we've had in the product for a while to really reflect the newest sanctions," she said.

The war in Ukraine, along with rising interest rates and weakness in high growth technology stocks, had a dampening effect on U.S. IPOs.

Nasdaq hosted 70 IPOs in the quarter, including the biggest market debut this year of private equity firm TPG, but that was down from 275 stock market flotations a year earlier.

Nasdaq also said it was seeking regulatory and shareholder approvals for a 3-for-1 stock split which it expects to complete in the third quarter.

In line with other financial companies that have felt the pinch of inflationary pressures, Nasdaq's adjusted operating expenses rose 9%, reflecting costs tied to higher employee compensation and benefits.

Excluding one-time items, Nasdaq earned $1.97 per share, above analysts' average estimate of $1.95 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru and John McCrank in New York; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Bernadette Baum)