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Icap: FX helps drive growth at Icap

The market, it is said, is always right, but the performance of Icap’s share price is seemingly at odds with the company’s financial growth. Of course, Icap’s shares have been caught up with the general malaise affecting global equity valuations in general and financial stocks in particular but as the company pointed out in an interim management statement issued in mid-July, it has continued to benefit as a result of the continuing volatility in financial markets.

"Group revenue (excluding the recent Link acquisition) grew by 15% in the quarter ended June 30, 2008 compared with the same period in the previous year," Icap said in a press release, adding: "Icap has a broadly diversified revenue base and in many markets the group benefited from higher than average levels of volatility. The increase in electronic broking revenue was particularly strong, especially in foreign exchange."

According to Icap, the average daily spot FX volume on its EBS platform was $213.4 billion in the quarter, 40% increase up on the same period in 2007. However, the broker warned that the huge increase in trading it has witnessed since June 2007 has been significantly above the longer-term growth rate for the industry in general and it expects this to fall back towards trend.

"Icap has continued to benefit from higher than average levels of volatility as well as the investment we have made in recent years to broaden our business," said the company’s chief executive, Michael Spencer. "We remain very positive about the outlook for the business. As a result of this volatility, activity levels in interest rates (particularly in Europe), foreign exchange and energy markets continued to be high during this period,"

He added: "Icap’s electronic broking business grew very strongly, particularly in foreign exchange and post trade services.

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