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NYSE-parent ICE tops profit views as market volatility spurs trading

A trader walks below screens showing the current price of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Intercontinental Exchange Inc on Thursday reported first-quarter profit slightly above Wall Street views, as market volatility boosted the New York Stock Exchange parent's exchange unit, helping offset a rates-driven slump in its mortgage technology business.

Investors have been overhauling their portfolios to hedge against risk after a slew of interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the recent banking crisis that has roiled markets.

Revenue from ICE's exchanges segment, its biggest business, grew 1% from a year earlier to a record $1.09 billion, while the company's fixed income and data services segment revenue rose 11% to a record $563 million.

However, a sharp rise in interest rates have quelled demand for mortgages, hurting ICE's mortgage technology unit, which helps businesses originate, review and process mortgages.

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Revenue from the segment dipped 23% to $236 million.

On an adjusted basis, the exchange operator reported a profit of $1.41 per share for the quarter ended March 31, which was a penny above the mean estimate of analysts, according to Refinitiv data.

The main driver of the profit beat was lower-than-expected expenses, Jefferies analyst Daniel Fannon said in a client note.

ICE's total revenue, excluding transaction-based expenses, was $1.9 billion, down 0.2% from a year ago.

(Reporting by John McCrank in New York and Siddarth S in Bengaluru; Editing by Will Dunham and Krishna Chandra Eluri)