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Interactive Brokers Group Inc.’s (IBKR - Analyst Report) Electronic Brokerage segment witnessed an improvement in its brokerage metrics for Mar 2013 on a year-over-year basis. The segment clears and settles trades globally for both individual and institutional clients.

Interactive’s total customer Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs) hiked 7% from Mar 2012 but declined 8% from Feb 2013 to 448,000. Further, total customer accounts climbed 12% from the prior-year month and 1% from the prior month to 217,100.

Interactive recorded Cleared Customer DARTs of 407,000, increasing 6% from Mar 2012 but decreasing 9% from Feb 2013. Moreover, on an annualized basis, Cleared Average DART per customer account of 473,000 fell 5% from the comparable month last year and 10% from the previous month.

Additionally, Interactive’s total option contracts fell 10% from the prior-year month and were almost in line with the prior month level to 19,432 in the month under review. Yet, future contracts surged 24% from Mar 2012 and 4% from Feb 2013 to 8,488.

Interactive also reported period-end statistics for customer equity, customer credit balances and customer margin loan balances. For the period ended Mar 2013, customer equity stood at $35.6 billion, augmenting 23% year over year and 3% from the prior month.

Further, Interactive recorded customer credit balances of $22.8 billion in the month, increasing 21% from the Mar 2012 level and 2% from the Feb 2013 level. Also, the company’s customer margin loan balances of $11.3 billion at the end of Mar 2013 surged 35% from $8.4 billion at the end of Mar 2012, and inched up 1% from $11.2 billion at the end of Feb 2013.

Overall brokerage metrics improved but lower trading activities and fluctuating interest rates are expected to mar the company’s financials in the near term. In addition, Interactive’s dependence on IBG LLC and its extensive international exposure makes us apprehensive.

Among other investment brokers, Knight Capital Group, Inc. (KCG - Snapshot Report) is expected to announce its March metrics in the first half of this month.

Currently, Interactive holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other investment brokers that are worth considering include Stifel Financial Corp. (SF - Snapshot Report) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (AMTD - Analyst Report). Both these carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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