Online brokerage houses Monex Inc. and kabu.com Securities Co. said Wednesday their first-quarter earnings surged in line with an increase in trading volume among individual investors following the recent stock market rally.

Monex reported a net profit of 37 million yen for the April-June period, its first-ever profit and a turnaround from a 349 million yen net loss a year earlier. Its operating revenue jumped 54.3 percent to 1.25 billion yen.

“The biggest contributor to the profit was the increase in the trading volume,” Monex chief executive Oki Matsumoto said.

The company, which has been losing money since it went public in August 2000, saw brisk transactions during the recent stock upturn that drew individual investors back to the market. Revenue from commission fees during the period increased 25.1 percent to 908 million yen.

The firm said cost-cutting efforts also helped it turn a profit, with sales and general expenses down 4.1 percent to 1.1 billion yen, despite the increase in transaction volume.

Matsumoto said the firm’s initial systems investment has been completed and the launch of new nonstock services has reduced its reliance on the stock market. He declined to give either quarterly or full-year earnings figures.

Meanwhile, kabu.com said it saw record earnings in the first quarter, with net profit jumping 12.8-fold from a year earlier to 345 million yen, surpassing the firm’s entire earnings for fiscal 2002, when it logged 125 million yen in net profit.

Buoyed by the market upswing, its operating revenue soared 71 percent from a year earlier to 1.17 billion yen, also a record.

The average number of orders per day during the period was 20,658, up more than 30 percent from a year earlier.

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