Robinhood posts smaller loss as higher rates boost margin trading business

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The logo of Robinhood Markets, Inc. is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company's IPO in New York City

By Mehnaz Yasmin

(Reuters) -Robinhood Inc posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday as the brokerage’s margin trading business benefited from rising interest rates, while increased volatility in the markets helped its equity and options segments.

Net interest revenue doubled to $128 million for the third quarter as annual margin interest rates jumped to 5.75% for Robinhood Gold customers and 9.75% for non-Gold customers.

Robinhood Gold is the company’s subscription service, which gives investors access to premium features.

“We anticipate Q4 net interest revenues will be up by roughly $25 million from Q3,” Chief Financial Officer Jason Warnick said on a post-earnings call.

Trading in options rose 10%, while that in equities was up 7% sequentially as investors repositioned their portfolios to take advantage of rising interest rates.

Those factors helped the company post revenue of $361 million in the three months ended September, comfortably beating estimates of $355 million, while narrowing its net loss to $175 million from $1.32 billion a year earlier.

Stripping off one-time items, Robinhood reported a loss of 20 cents a share, narrower than 31 cents estimated by analysts, according to data from Refinitiv IBES.

Trading in cryptocurrencies, however, fell 12% sequentially to $51 million as a rout in the broader market forced investors to shun other speculative assets. It had surged 860% to $51 million a year earlier.

“This is better than their competitor Coinbase, which Robinhood has taken market share from this year,” said Michael Ganian, analyst at research firm YipitData.

The commission-free brokerage also saw monthly active users fall to 12.2 million, sequentially.

A year ago, it reported 18.9 million users when Robinhood’s easy-to-use interface made it a hit among young investors trading from home on cryptocurrencies and stocks such as GameStop Corp amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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