updated 3/16/2004 8:33:02 AM ET 2004-03-16T13:33:02

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. on Tuesday said quarterly profit more than doubled, driven by higher revenue from bond trading and underwriting, stock sales and mergers.

The New York-based company, one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks, said net income rose to $670 million, or $2.21 per share in the fiscal first quarter, from $301 million, or $1.15 per share, a year earlier.

Profit easily surpassed analysts’ estimates. Analysts polled by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc, on average forecast profit of $1.66 per share.

Lehman said net revenue totaled $3.1 billion, up 84 percent from a year earlier and up 37 percent from the prior quarter.

The company said it benefited from “robust customer flow activity” throughout much of its capital markets business. It also said higher confidence in the U.S. economy and corporate profitability led to increased merger activity and equity offerings.

Lehman is the first of four large U.S. investment banks expected to report quarterly results this month. Bear Stearns Cos. is expected to report on Wednesday, Morgan Stanley on Thursday and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. next week.

Lehman shares closed Monday at $84.65 on the New York Stock Exchange. They closed one year ago at $58.67.

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