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UPDATE 1-Plus500 quarterly earnings drop as pandemic volatility wears off

(Adds details on results, background)

April 13 (Reuters) - Online trading platform Plus500 Ltd on Tuesday reported a plunge in core earnings and revenue for the first quarter, struggling to match up to a tough comparative from last year when market volatility shot up due to the pandemic selloff.

The company’s revenue fell 36% to $203.2 million in the quarter ended March 31, while core earnings nearly halved to $121.7 million.

However, the London-listed company added 89,406 new customers in the period, a 8% jump year-on-year, pushing up the number of active clients to a record 269,743.

The customer additions come against the backdrop of a so-called “GameStonk” frenzy in the markets, which has essentially seen amateur traders coordinate through social media platforms such as Reddit to push up the prices of beaten-down stocks.

Plus500, which lets investors trade on over 2,500 different financial instruments including equities, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies, expects 2021 revenue and core earnings to be moderately ahead of market consensus.

Analysts expect revenue of $454.8 million and core earnings of $240.3 million for 2021, compared to the $872.5 million and $515.9 million it reported last year, according to company-compiled estimates. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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