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TD Ameritrade CEO: Company Had Busiest Day In Its History Monday-CNBC

By Brett Philbin Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) Chief Exective Fred Tomczyk said the online brokerage had the busiest day in its history on Monday, processing more than 900,000 trades on a day in which the stock market fell over 600 points. In a CNBC interview Wednesday, Tomczyk said "four of the last five [trading] days have been records" for the company, in terms of trading activity. While Tomczyk wouldn't give a specific forecast for daily average revenue trades, or DARTs, so far in August, he said trading has been "up quite a bit from July levels" as market volatility has surged over concerns about the European debt crisis and the U.S. economy. DARTs are a closely watched measure of trading volume. Earlier Wednesday, Sandler O'Neill + Partners analyst Richard Repetto said his channel checks showed DARTs, through six days in August, for the online brokerages are up 50% over the month of July. Tomczyk said the market is experiencing a "real correction" and is "trying to figure out where to go," referring to Dow Jones Industrial Average's steep plunge after the Federal Reserve's policy statement Tuesday, which was followed by a climb of more than 400 points to close the trading session. While higher trading volumes help Ameritrade in the short term, Tomczyk warned that if this level of activity continues much longer, investors will "go to sidelines and wait it out." When asked about a potential deal for E*Trade Financial Corp. (ETFC), Tomczyk declined to comment. He said Ameritrade will always do "anything that makes strategic sense" for the company and its shareholders. Analysts have long speculated that Ameritrade is the likely acquirer of E*Trade if a deal were to happen, given the similarity in their business models. The Wall Street Journal recently said TD Ameritrade was scheduled to discuss a possible offer for E*Trade at a previously scheduled board meeting last month, citing people familiar with the situation. But Ameritrade was lukewarm to a bid for E*Trade in recent days, given the possible price and the size of the company's mortgage portfolio, these people said. E*Trade has faced pressure from its largest shareholder, Citadel LLC, to discuss a possible sale of the company in recent days. However, Citadel agreed to suspend further shareholder action late Monday, after E*Trade's board formed a new special committee of independent directors, which hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) to conduct a review of strategic alternatives. Shares of TD Ameritrade recently traded down 5.4% at $14.20 following financial stocks and the broader market lower. -By Brett Philbin, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2173; [email protected]

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