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Wall Street profits rise by nearly a third in first half of 2015: report

A man walks along Wall Street in New York September 18, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street broker-dealers posted profits of $11.3 billion in the first half of 2015, up 29 percent from the same period last year and the strongest first half since 2011, a New York financial watchdog said on Tuesday.

However, the report by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said a slowing global economy could put pressure on the industry in the remainder of the year.

"After a very strong first half of the year, the securities industry faces volatile financial markets and an unsteady global economy," DiNapoli said in the report.

The report said a recent return to jobs growth in the industry could be undermined in the remaining months of the year. The industry added 2,300 jobs in 2014, the first year of jobs gains since 2011, a trend which accelerated over the first eight months of 2015, the report found.

The industry had been "on pace to add more than 4,500 jobs in 2015 before recent concerns over weakness in the global economy roiled the financial markets," it noted.

"We can't predict how the year will end but it would appear that in the short run profits will be dampened, which certainly could have an impact on what we had anticipated would be continued job growth," DiNapoli said in a conference call Tuesday morning. "We certainly hope it will not result in job losses."

The report said each job added in the securities industry leads to the creation of two additional jobs in other industries in the city and another job elsewhere in the state, mostly in the suburbs.

The yearly report on the industry aggregates tax data from the broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms. Those operations have been profitable for the six years since the financial crisis in 2008, according to the report.

The state comptroller monitors the securities industry because of its importance to state and city tax revenue as well as to the local economy. The report estimated that one in nine jobs in New York City and one in 15 jobs in the state are either directly or indirectly associated with the securities industry.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Additional reporting by Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Frances Kerry)