By Brett Philbin
TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) said it's averaging 370,000 client trades per day so far in April, suggesting a third straight monthly decline in trading volume.
The forecast, which is preliminary, implies the Omaha, Neb. online brokerage's daily average revenue trades, or DARTs--a measure of trading volume--are down 3% from March and 8% from a year earlier. The year-ago period reflects some tough comparisons for TD Ameritrade though, as it was the company's best quarter of trading activity in its history.
The data also confirms trading activity was sluggish to start 2012 amid an on-going European sovereign-debt crisis and concerns about a slowing economic recovery.
During a conference call with analysts, TD Ameritrade Chief Executive Fred Tomczyk said, "there remains a sense of caution among the retail investor despite improvements in the market in the quarter."
While trading activity was strong to begin 2011, Tomczyk said volumes this year reflect investors "waiting to see if the economy and markets are for real this time."
Earlier Tuesday, TD Ameritrade said its fiscal second-quarter earnings slumped 20% from a year ago as its trading revenue plunged.
Within the quarter, Ameritrade's commission and transaction fee-based revenue fell 14% from a year ago to $292 million, though climbed 6.8% sequentially. The company posted DARTs of 388,000 in period, down 12% from a year earlier, but up 5.5% from the previous quarter.
Shares of TD Ameritrade recently traded down 0.9% at $18.61. The stock has climbed 20% year-to-date as of Monday's close.
-By Brett Philbin, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2173; firstname.lastname@example.org