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November 1, 2003

Knight's Stride Wins Street Praise

By Gregory Bresiger

Thomas Joyce, a former Merrill trading executive brought in to turn around Knight Trading Group, seems to be succeeding in the short term.

Putnam Lovell NBF has just issued a glowing short-term report on the giant market maker, saying its performance should be good in the third and fourth quarters.

The research firm's analysts noted that Knight's business lines are now all profitable and that its OTC bulletin board business was very good in September.

At the same time, Knight had announced that it projected its third quarter earnings to be between 16 cents and 21 cents. Knight also said that it expects institutional business to grow. Knight, in second quarter numbers, earned 13 cents a share or $14.8 million in net income. This shows dramatic improvement compared to the disastrous second quarter of last year. That's when it lost $235 million, or 19 cents a share.

"The company's OTC volumes, as reported by AutEx data, increased 110 percent sequentially reflecting the increased activity of the retail investor," noted Putnam Lovell NBF.