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Wit Capital gains on rosy outlook

Wit Capital Group Inc. (Nasdaq: WITC) charged ahead 28 percent Friday after said it would top first quarter estimates due to the market's strength and its recent merger with SoundView.

Shares of the parent of online investment banking group Wit SoundView were up 4 9/16 to 21 1/8 Friday morning, and the stock was the fifth most actively traded on the Nasdaq. Wit's stock leaped when it announced its merger with SoundView Technology Group Inc. in November, but has been flat ever since.

The company, which offers underwriting, financial advising, access to private capital to corporate clients, as well as distribution of IPOs to individual investors via the Web.

After market close Thursday, Wit said it will see a profit for the first time and report revenue surpassing $85 million in the first quarter. The company said analysts had expected Wit to pull in $47.6 million to $54 million in revenue for the quarter.

First Call's consensus was expecting Wit to post a loss of 5 cents a share for the quarter, still a big improvement over the loss of 67 cents in the year-ago quarter. The company will report earnings the week of April 17.

The company said markets for Internet and technology stocks have been very strong in the first quarter, and its results will also reflect the benefits of its SoundView Technology Group merger.

Wit bought SoundView in hopes of getting better access to intial public offerings and strong research. Wit primarily competes with E*Trade's (Nasdaq: EGRP) E*offering, Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCH) and DLJ Direct (NYSE: DIR) among others to distribute IPOs to individual investors.