March 13, 2020 / 2:33 PM / 16 days ago

Charles Schwab reports strongest start to year as coronavirus fears grow

March 13 (Reuters) - Charles Schwab reported the strongest start to a year with $45.3 billion in fresh assets under management during the first two months of 2020, driven by heightened volatility faced by equity markets amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"Our clients have set multiple new single-day records for trading in recent weeks, reaching a high of 2.7 million trades on March 9," Chief Financial Officer Peter Crawford said here on Friday.

The brokerage giant's clients averaged 1.3 million trades per day in February, up 53% from a year earlier, with a significant increase in client cash allocations during the first eight business days of March, consistent with the company's experience during other periods of heightened uncertainty.

"Stronger levels of trading-related and net interest revenue generated by these client actions should help soften the impact of lower rates and equity market valuations, enabling us to deliver linked-period top-line growth for the first quarter of 2020," Crawford said.

Global markets have been hit with high-volatility levels as alarm over the coronavirus intensified, with governments around the world scrambling to slow the spread of a disease that has infected more than 127,000 people worldwide. (Reporting by C Nivedita in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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